Athens to Become Friendlier to Bikes with Two New Routes
On occasion of World Bicycle Day on Wednesday, Greek Environment Minister Kostis Hatzidakis said two new bike routes would be created in Athens.
Hatzidakis announced the news during the start of a bike race along the recently announced “Megalos Peripatos” (Grand Stroll) city walk in the Greek capital – an ambitious project aimed at unifying the city’s archaeological sites and landmarks via a 6.8km walkway.
Marking the day, Hatzidakis together with Athens Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis said the government was aiming to offer incentives to get more people to use bicycles or electric bikes.
He went on to add that the ministry decided to complete a network of cycling routes linking the city center to the coast.
Two new bike routes
The new Faliro-Kifisia bicycle route will connect with the existing Gazi-Faliro route and go through the central Athens neighborhoods including Petralona, Kypseli, Exarchia, Kolonaki and Ambelokipi. The route, which will end in the northern suburb of Kifisia, is budgeted at 7 million euros and will be financed through the ministry’s Green Fund.
At the same time, Hatzidakis said the government had allocated an additional 3 million euros for the creation of a circuit from the Katehaki metro station to the Evangelismos stop.
Hatzidakis said that Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will be announcing the government’s energy policy transition on Friday, demonstrating the importance of environmentally friendly and sustainable transportation.
“This policy,” said Hadzidakis, “includes an eco-bonus for those who buy electric vehicles, which will be much greater for those who buy electric bikes.”
Including Greece in the Eurovelo network of EU-wide, long-distance cycling routes, raise awareness on the use of bicycles as an environmentally friendly mode of transport, and locating the funding to create cycling routes in urban centers, are the top priorities of the environment ministry’s strategy for the development of cycling tourism.
Earlier this year, Efthimios Bakogiannis, secretary general for regional planning and urban environment, referred to the environment ministry’s bike-friendly policies for the promotion of sustainable and responsible tourism.
I regularly cycle in Greece, which means that I regularly take my life and put it into the uncaring, even aggressive hands of others. Most countries go further than what is described in this article by giving bikes priority. Greece will never do this because in Greece a man on a bike is seen as some sort of machismotic inferior. You’re riding across the back of a parking bay and a car will pass toy and turn in sharply. A motorist will not yeild right of way to an oncoming cyclist when passing a car on the motorist’s side of the road. To Greek drivers, it seems to me, cyclists have no rights.