Ninety new bicycle shelters will be built at primary schools in Warsaw by the end of 2020. Each stand will have at least ten racks, and local residents have until February 15 to suggest possible locations, reports 

Plans for the bicycle shelters were initially proposed in last year’s civic budget, which is decided by Warsaw residents. The proposal received 18,561 votes, and the shelters are set to be the largest project chosen by residents in the entire history of the Warsaw civic budget, with a total value of 3.6 million zloty.

In a press release, the Municipal Roads Authority (ZDM) said that the popularity of the project was “not a surprise”, due to recent developments in support of cycling in the city. “Warsaw has been successively promoting sustainable mobility for years as part of the ‘Bicycle May’ campaign,” they added. 

One of many schemes to encourage cycling in Poland, the Bicycle May campaign is the largest project promoting a healthy lifestyle and sustainability among pre-school and primary-school pupils, staff and parents. As part of the campaign, schools have become more cycle-friendly, with nearly 3,000 bicycle shelters already erected at such institutions across the capital since 2016.

Cycling has become increasingly popular across Poland in recent years. According to a 2019 study by market research company ARC Rynek i Opinia, 38% of Poles consider it their favourite sport, whilst figures released from Statistics Poland reveal that the bicycle is the most popular sports equipment in Poland, present in almost three quarters of households. 

There has been significant investment in cycling in Poland to meet demand, with a growing network of bike lanes in cities. The “Warsaw Cycle Path Development by 2020 Programme”, introduced in 2010, has led to approximately 200 km of new cycle paths being built in the capital.

Last week, ZDM announced that a new programme would be developed to evaluate the current needs of cyclists in the city and plan for bicycle development in the next decade. In a referendum in Kraków in 2014, 85.2% of residents voted in favour of more bike paths being built. 

City bike rental schemes have also proved popular – but have caused some difficulties. Warsaw’s Veturilo urban bike scheme, launched in 2012, was used six million times in 2019. Poland’s first such system was launched in Kraków in 2008. In December last year, it was confirmed that the Wavelo network, already the third incarnation of the city’s bike rental service, was being withdrawn.

Officials blamed competition from scooter rentals and expensive fees – including a subscription service, which has been compared unfavourably with the simplicity of Warsaw’s Veturilo scheme. There are now plans to relaunch the Wavelo rental service, but prices will rise, according to Dziennik Polski.

Meanwhile, Łódź’s city bike scheme launched successfully in 2016 – only to struggle to recruit operators for the service. Another tender for a future public bike system was announced last month, following on from a previous attempt in October, which led to no offers being received. 

Cargo bikes are also making a splash. Having already appeared in Kraków and Gdynia, a public scheme was presented last month in Bydgoszcz after winning the city’s civic budget competition for 2019. Next year, the city is to spend 300,000 zloty on the vehicles, which can be used for transporting various equipment, furniture, and even children, reports Gazeta Wyborcza

In Poznań, a new way to celebrate Valentine’s Day has been suggested by Bicycle Poznań. They are encouraging everyone to jump on their bicycles and cycle to work as part of International Winter Bike to Work Day – in the hope that the city can top the global leader board, where it currently ranks in 25th place.

Main image credit: Flickr/pressedienst fahrrad

Juliette Bretan is a freelance journalist covering Polish and Eastern European current affairs and culture. Her work has featured on the BBC World Service, and in CityMetric, The Independent, Ozy, New Eastern Europe and

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