April 29, 2021 | auto

Erbil sees new dedicated bicycle lane as part of city pilot program

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Region’s capital is embracing cycle lanes as a test of what new bicycle-friendly infrastructure could look like, according to an Erbil’s traffic official.

Bicycle lanes have been built along a major street in Erbil known as the 100 Meter road. The path’s length is around 250-300 meters, and at one meter wide, Fadhl Hajee hopes the city will add future infrastructure to encourage more cycling.

“We wanted to show the municipality authorities a sample of cycleways,” Hajee told Kurdistan 24 on Wednesday, saying his directorate also installed street signs on the lane.

Despite large numbers of avid cyclists in Erbil, the city is devoid of any cycling infrastructure and bike riders often fear being hit by cars on its notoriously busy roadways.

During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, people embraced bicycles as car traffic halted in the city, part of measures to curb the spread of the virus.

Commuting by bicycle was allowed during quarantine for people to buy essentials such as food from local markets.

“Even bicycle prices witnessed an increase during the quarantine,” Hemin Ali, a local bicycle seller and repairer, told Kurdistan 24, saying that more people shifted towards cycling in the period.

Beri Shalmashi, a Kurdish-Dutch filmmaker, took to Twitter to express her happiness on the new lanes.

As someone living in Amsterdam, and spending lots of time in Hewler [Erbil], this makes me happy,” Shalmashi tweeted, saying she hoped more bike lanes would be built in the city.


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