It’s too cold! It’s raining! It’s slippery out there! These are the main excuses for a citizen why not to ride their bicycles from late November until March.
Now let me show you another reason that can easily be a demotivating factor when it comes to winter cycling. Though, the modal split of cycling has been increased by 50% annually in Budapest (even in winter months), but cleaning the snow from the cycle tracks (and other types on bike facilities) is just not that important for the city administration and/or the folks who are effectively cleaning the streets.
In 2012 the daily average of cycling traffic was over a thousand on working days. Not too much – you could say – compared to public transport (main tram routes run among the cycle lane) or individual car traffic. But still, much more than 5 years ago when the early bird cyclists of Budapest have arisen, mainly from different sub-cultures of the youth.
I personally have a strange déjá vu these wet and cold days that cycling is perceived as the extremely minority of the everyday traffic. Today around 500 cyclists are counted on the Inner Ring road and it used to be like this in all seasons until a sensable change in the mindset of city and traffic planners, who had put bike lanes, bike-boxes (ASLs) on the plans and let contra-flow cycling in downtown streets. Anyway, the average traffic in the same section was over 2.200 cyclist/day/direction in September…
Why it’s only 25% who sit on the saddle when the temperature gets below 5°C?
I don’t know the perfect answer, for sure. But I show you some photos I’ve taken on my trips in Budapest and some other towns.
Do you have some other good/bad examples? Please, let me know in a comment.