Saturday, July 12, 2014

Moscow & Washington - Cyclists & Infrastructure

Whatever else may be clear, Washington supports bicyclists more than Moscow - of course, Moscow's climate isn't particularly bicycle-friendly much of the year. (I do have plenty of people who don't think Washington's summer weather and humidity are very bike friendly either, but the problem isn't to be compared with riding in Moscow's snowy roads treated with huge quantities salt and chemicals.)

Nevertheless there is some advocacy in Moscow for cycling - for "bicycle culture" (velocul'tura) and seeking more cycling infrastructure, present on the Internet via this site and this site and a few others. (No, I don't know why the one Russian organization has a name, "Let's bike it" that is in English, not Russian.) The online map of cycling infrastructure in Moscow mostly references bicycle parking and rental, not bicycle lanes or trails, which are apparently pretty limited.

Recently the Moscow city transportation department and a number of informal and commercial organizations organized the third annual "Bike Parade" on June 29th in downtown Moscow, attracting thousands of riders for a 16 kilometer (around ten miles) ride on a closed course, much like Bike DC that the Washington Area Bicyclist Association used to organize as a fundraiser (although I guess they had some permit problems this past year). There was a fairly good video produced and available on YouTube of the 2014 Moscow "Veloparad." (I am not sure that having a car company, Opel, as a sponsor of a bicycle event would happen in most places other than Moscow ~)

Московский Велопарад 2014 - the 2014 Moscow bicycle parade

As I said above, I think of Washington as being ahead of Moscow in "velo-culture" but this past week a Washington Post columnist set things back somewhat by writing a column in which he suggested that DC area cyclists are "terrorists" and that perhaps a 500 dollar fine for hitting one with one's car isn't too high a price to pay (entitled "Bicyclist bullies try to rule the road in D.C."). Charming. (I only learned about this second hand; I don't pay for the online or paper Washington Post because it is so much worse than the newspaper I grew up with and giving them any of my mind might signify approval of their present editorial views and approach to journalism - also, it turned out to be quite easy to live without it.) The Washington Area Bicyclist Association has a response to the cyclist=terrorist column and others organized a lunch-time ride to the Washington Post to protest.

The 1986 Washington Times published regular full pages of news and information for cyclists, wanting their readership-imagine that!

Unfortunately since I don't subscribe to the Washington Post, I can't cancel my subscription in a huff. Oh well.

To circle back to cycling in Moscow, the comments at the end of the video (embedded above in this post) are what you would expect about how much the ride was enjoyed, but two of the comments say that the riders were sorry the ride was not longer, which I think is surprising since ten miles for something like this in a city like Moscow seems pretty good. (Oddly I could not find a map showing the route and only found in one place mention that the length of the ride was 16 km.) They were certainly lucky with the weather and it looked like great fun.

1 comment:

  1. Pretty impressive number of Moscow cyclists for that ride event!

    Yes, it's always annoying to brand cyclists as terrorists. Seriously (?).