Bike awards highlight local cycling initiatives

Winners came from small local schemes as well as city initiatives.

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File picture of bike stands getting ready for the cycling season, March 2019 / Credit: News Now Finland

The country’s top bike initiatives for 2018 have been given awards by the Cycling Network Association which found winners in small villages as well as a big city.

The organisation was looking for new and bold ways to promote cycling during last year, and the selection criteria included effectiveness, fun, ingenuity and publicity.

The first prize goes to Sattula village, north of Hämeenlinna, for introducing a brand new cycling and pedestrian-friendly traffic solution, the first of its kind seen in Finland.

The Sattula Village Association borrowed an idea from the Netherlands, dividing a stretch of road with 3-metre wide lanes for vehicles in the middle; while pedestrians and cyclists have their own dedicated lanes on either side. Speed bumps keep the average vehicle speed down to 40km per hour along the 2.5km length of the road going through the village.

“The solution works very well with Sattula’s smaller car traffic volumes” says Reijo Lehtinen, president of the village association.

Turku’s year-round bike sharing wins 2nd place

The second prize was awarded to Turku’s year-round bike share scheme. Since it’s open during all the seasons, the scheme not only encourages cyclists to get out during the winter months, but also nudges the city to do more for maintenance all through the year.

“Of course the system is year-round, why not?” asks Project Manager Stella Aaltonen from the City of Turku.

“Already 23% of Turku cyclists are cycling through the winter, thanks to better winter care of city bikes and cycle routes” she adds.

There have been 210,000 bike trips made since the scheme was introduced in May 2018, and advocates hope that where Turku has lead the way with a year-round bike sharing scheme, other cities might follow when they see that it’s possible to do.

Staff bike scheme claims third place

The third place award was given to Kone Cranes’s employee bike share scheme linking their local office with the railway station in Hyvinkää.

It’s been hailed as a good example of public-private cooperation that has increased the use of bikes as part of everyday life, and improved the well-being of Kone employees who make use of the scheme.

The system also works year round, with the summer tyres replaced by studded ones during winter months, and the local council is hoping to expand the scheme to other businesses in the coming season.