Review of cycling policies in Ukrainian cities

During the last five years Ukrainian cities show constantly growing interest to urban cycling. Towns and mid-size cities in the west of the county were the pioneers while eastern and southern regions are catching up during the last two years. This review aims at providing a general picture of how Ukrainian cities integrate cycling in urban life and give further references to particular documents and initiatives. The latter is available in Ukrainian only, nevertheless, additional information can always be requested from the Coordinator of the Ukrainian Center for Cycling Expertise. Tourism cycling and infrastructure are not covered by this review.

Major Ukrainian cities that actively promote urban cycling

Many cities have already been doing some promotion before 2011, nevertheless, there was no integrated policy towards promotion of urban cycling. During the last two years urban cycling caught more attention of media, general public and local authorities.

A number of cities already have or currently develop a comprehensive cycling concept or a cycling master plan. Kyiv, Lviv, Lutsk city councils formally approved cycling plans. Donetsk, Vinnytsya, Simferopol are drafting their strategic cycling documents.

Construction of a bike path in Lviv (Foto: portal.lviv.ua)

Kyiv selected a pilot district to develop cycling network within a limited area of the city.

Pilot routes were selected in the town of Dolyna (Ivano-Frankivsk region) and Yevpatoria (Crimea). Other cities start with recreational routes (Ternopil, Poltava, Yalta). Most cities, even those that have no plans to develop cycling infrastructure, do promotion of urban cycling. Promo-events are mostly organized by NGOs and initiative groups, in some cases with support of city councils. Bicycle rides and annual Bike Day are the most common activities. Kyiv, Lviv, Uzhgorod, Yevpatoria and others celebrate European Mobility Week, Kyiv Cyclists’ Association runs annual Cycling-Friendly Office Contest and Bike Mentor program, in 2013 Lviv organizes first Bicycle Festival and Poltava hosts annual cycling conference Veloforum.

Pedestrian zone during the European Mobility Week 2013 in Kyiv

More and more cities recognize benefits of urban cycling, the idea is particularly easily accepted in mid-size towns where everyday distances are shorter. Nevertheless, large cities slowly get the need to diversify transportation options and offer sustainable alternatives to automobiles.

General challenge that all cities face – no experience in planning cycling infrastructure together with limited and outdated regulations on planning cycling infrastructure. In addition, car-oriented paradigm still dominates urban transport policies and affects decision-making on budget allocations for high-quality cycling infrastructure.

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