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bicycle feasibility in Warsaw


ryanb 24 | 23
1 Jun 2011  #1
How feasible is it to use a bicycle in Warsaw compared to depending exclusively on public transit? I was thinking of getting a folding bike that would be easier to use in conjunction with public transit depending on where I am going. I guess my main question is how bicycle friendly is Warsaw?
Dominicus - | 23
1 Jun 2011  #2
Poland is not a bicycle-friendly country at all, and Warsaw is no exception. Poland has nothing in common with Holland, Germany or Scandinavia in this regard. The biggest problems are:

1) Roads are not designed for bikes. There are few bike lanes, and those that exist are often poorly or illogically designed, especially at intersections.

2) Polish drivers - cars are a new thing in Poland, and most drivers are very innexperienced. They often do stupid and unexpected things, and the accident rate is 16 times that in the States. They are not very considerate toward bikers, by a long shot.

3) Theft. Your bicycle will quickly be stolen. Anything that is metal and is unattended even for a brief moment is considered by a certain element of the local populace (złomiarzy, or "scrap scavengers") to be abandoned and thus fair game. They sell it to the junkyard for money for alcohol. And then there are plenty of regular bicycle theives who steal to resell. You will have great difficulty finding a safe place to keep your bike, and it will quickly become an albatross.

4) You can't take a bike on public transport. Even a folding one. Buses and trams are crowded, and you will quickly be reprimanded if you tried to get on with a bike, even a folding one. Baby carriages and wheelchairs are allowed, but bikes aren't. I've never seen a bike on a bus in my nine years here.

All in all, cycling in Warsaw would be more trouble than it's worth, and it won't save you any money. If you want to try it, buy a cheap (200-300 PLN) "throw-away" bike with the help of a friendly Polish student and give it a whirl. If it gets stolen, you heart won't be broken.
Antek_Stalich 5 | 997
1 Jun 2011  #3
See also: Things to see along eastern Poland by bicycle.

I would say Wrocław is a bike-friendly city. Warsaw is not.
Maaarysia
1 Jun 2011  #4
Polish drivers- cars are a new thing in Poland

A new thing? I guess if someone holds driving lisence for at least 20 years you cannot say it's a new thing for a such driver.

I love so much when foreigners patronise Poland and spreading nonsense like that: cars are something new for Poles and they still haven't learnt how to drive them.
Dominicus - | 23
1 Jun 2011  #5
There are not very many Polish drivers that have been driving for 20 years. Most have been driving for five or less. And it shows. Like I said, the accident rate is 16 times higher per mile driven than in the States. That's not patronizing. It's just reality.

I've been living in Poland for 9 years, and in that time, the number of cars and drivers has more than tripled.

Add to that the fact that Americans drive like old ladies, and Poles are rather reckless, that the roads are much narrower and crowded than in the States, not as well designed, and in worse condition. Polish drivers haven't quite figured out that cars can kill, and they do a lot of stupid things. I've seen at least a dozen accidents happen here in Poland just from my balcony when I go out to smoke, and I'm not a heavy smoker. I've only seen ONE accident happen in forty years of living in the States. Several of my friends in Poland have had accidents with cars while cycling. One was hit and tossed into the bushes at the side of the road. The driver stopped, got out, checked to see that he was still alive, and tossed him a 100 PLN note before driving off. My friend had a broken arm and was bruised all over. Sorry, but Polish drivers are not the best in the world, and Polish roads are not made to handle bike traffic.
mafketis 20 | 7,243
1 Jun 2011  #6
I really like bike riding and would happily bike to work in nice weather but there's no way I'm going to share the road with crazy Polish drivers (there are some very good drivers but there's also a higher percentage of horrible, dangerous drivers than I'm comfortable with).

a few reasons:

- corrupt licensing - in the past it was often easier (and required!) to bribe the driving instructor than to actually learn how to drive safely. I'm not sure if the system is still as corrupt as it once was but I've been in a car or two with people who have no business having a license.

- brawura - I'm not sure if there's any correlation between reckless chance taking and age/experience. But enough Polish drivers (experienced or not) like the idea of speeding around and taking chances that driving is on the dangerous side no matter how safe any indivicual driver is

- Polish people are so used to stupid dysfunctional rules that they have to learn to ignore that many of them can't recognize good rules (and don't see any point in following them).
poland_
1 Jun 2011  #7
Poland is not a bicycle-friendly country at all, and Warsaw is no exception

There are bicycle lanes in Warsaw, along the line of Stary Bielany,Stary Zoliborz, Muranow, Nowy/Stary Miasto, Powiśle, Dolny Mokotow, Sadyba, Stary/Nowy Wilanow and Powsin. These areas have bike lanes that just about connect to one and other, if you go through the odd park.
Dominicus - | 23
1 Jun 2011  #8
These areas have bike lanes that just about connect to one and other, if you go through the odd park.

Same here in Wrocław. It's those places where they "just about connect" that you have to be careful of. And intersections, of course. It's slowly getting better, but there is still a long way to go. A big issue is theft and the lack of places to safely leave your bike. Złomiarzy will steal anything metal they can get their hands on if you leave it outside overnight, and bicycles are a prime target.
marting - | 1
1 Jun 2011  #9
Warsaw is getting better for cycling. However, I consider myself an experienced cyclist but I wouldn't ride on Polish city roads and main roads between cities - it's just not fun. You can access a map of Warsaw's bike lanes here : rowerem.tk/downloads.php?cat_id=1 . I found it depends where you want to go between on whether it's worth taking the bike - certainly if you want to go to somewhere around PKiN I wouldn't bother taking a bike. There are more and more bike parking places and I don't remember the last time I had a problem because of nowhere to lock my bike.

I have never had a problem taking a bike on any form of public transport - okay the small buses may really not be big enough but outside of rush hours, there is no problems on trams and SKM and KM trains are well equipped for them.
Wroclaw 44 | 5,388
1 Jun 2011  #10
I have never had a problem taking a bike on any form of public transport

this ain't allowed in wroclaw. some trains, yes. anything else, no.
gumishu 11 | 5,012
1 Jun 2011  #11
I really like bike riding and would happily bike to work in nice weather but there's no way I'm going to share the road with crazy Polish drivers.

this is sadly true - I used to go to work in and around London on a bike (even some 15 one way) - I don't think I would be doing it in a Polish city


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