Cyclists defied a ruling by City Hall in February outlawing the now traditional end-of-month Critical Mass bike ride around the city.
Local decision makers withdrew consent following fears that Warsaw’s fragile traffic arrangements would breakdown following the closure of Łazienkowska Bridge. “We’ll still protect the cyclists,” said a police spokesman, “but the organizers have to be aware that it’s them who will be prosecuted.” Ultimately, the bridge’s enforced recess could prove to be beneficial to Warsaw’s cyclists, with many lobbying the Mayor to use the opportunity to build a bike path running underneath. “Seeing that the bridge needs substantial repairs following the fire,” said one campaigner, “there’ll never be a better time to implement such improvements – it’s now or never.”
While the scheme seems unlikely, it’s proof of the city’s growing bike culture. The number of people using bikes as a means of transport has tripled in the last five years, with the city spending more than ever to accommodate the growing phenomenon. Back on the streets as of March 1st, those at Veturilo – the city’s bike sharing system – anticipate another record breaking year in 2015.