VILNIUS - Infrastructure for cycling is patchy in Lithuania, despite many municipalities promoting it and the European Union supporting it with its structural and cohesion funds, among others. These funds, however, are designed on an assumption that local authorities have community needs at heart when they issue calls for tender. This assumption proved to be an overestimation, of not wishful thinking.
Our analysis of 15 out of 73 technical specifications of funded projects reveals that some bike lanes were too narrow, pre-programmed conflicts with pedestrians, or encroached on natural areas.
Lithuania is one of the deadliest places to be a cyclist in the EU, but local authorities improve infrastructure not where safety issues have been flagged. Instead, correspondence with municipalities and project documentation show that administrative ease was an important criterion when deciding where and what kind of cycling infrastructure to build. Cyclists are rarely explicitly invited to share their concerns. The Ministry of Transport promises more monitoring, but municipalities which built substandard infrastructure using EU funds will not be sanctioned.
© Justinas Stonkus
- Vienkartinė planeta. Žurnalistinis tyrimas. Dviratininkai podukros vietoje, LRT- Lithuanian Radio and Television, 24/10/2022
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