Athens has no bike lanes?

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ejwme
Participant
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Heard this bit on the radio this morning, figured I’d post it here.

http://www.npr.org/2011/10/26/141712554/athenians-take-to-bicycles-to-ride-out-crisis

Somewhere in the bit I heard that Athens, what I consider to be a Real European City (though I’ve never been, it’s on my bucket list), has no bike lanes? At all? Like Pgh has more biking infrastructure than a Real European City?

(and an unrelated note, I’m always astonished at how much better a Random Greek On The Street speaks English than I speak Greek. you can swap “Greek” for any other language/nationality except Bambara. just baffling that I natively speaking such a widespread language, I’m so lucky!).


brian j
Participant
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I suspect that many Real European Cities don’t have much bike infrastructure. We tend to see pics from Holland or Denmark and think all of Europe is overflowing with bike lanes.


ejwme
Participant
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You mean Europe isn’t a homogeneous amalgamation of everything I’ve seen on tv or the internet? ;)

I guess I’ve been to London and Paris, and DC, NY, SF, all have them, I kind of associate Athens with being a city on those levels, only with better preserved and older ruins. From what I’ve heard lately, though, it may be more along the lines of more eastern European cities, with worse traffic norms.

We meet at Dippy, their local biking group meets at the temple to the god of fire. I guess the comparison is just apples and oranges, but I can’t help making it.


Aryn
Participant
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Yeah, it surprised me too when I heard that this morning. Maybe they’ll get more with this upsurge in cycling.


sew
Participant
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And on another unrelated note. When I am in Europe, I often have a non-native English speaker translate my English to English for another non-native English speaker….So basically the speed with which we speak mixed with my Pittsburgh accent (slight as it may be – HA!) causes some of them issues.

It’s odd to have your English translated to English. Kinda makes me chuckle when it happens. (usually about once every couple of hours! How bad is my accent?!).


ejwme
Participant
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sew – I’ve used heavy Pgh (or southern) accents to hold a private conversation in English when I believe I’ll be overheard (or am being understood) by ESL people in foreign countries. Valley girl works too, Shakespearian works but only if you’re with another theater buff.

I’ve also translated Quebecois French into West African French, I think the only thing saving their egos was that they were desperately lost and grateful for the help and safe water to drink. I generally try not to do that, I’ll switch languages, if only to try not to offend the confusing speaker!

Language – part of what makes humans so darned weird.

Aryn – I don’t think Athens will get much infrastructure rebuilding for a while, but then again, maybe they’ll figure out that bicycles and “austerity” can go together happily.


Mick
Participant
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If drivers both followed the laws and respected bicyclists, would bike lanes still be necesary?


WillB
Participant
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Yes.


boostuv
Participant
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I wasnt aware there were fake EU cities.


ejwme
Participant
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well… As opposed to some place like Istanbul, which has some European nature to it but is more Eastern than European, complete with the road culture to match. I think I suffer from some residual cultural fascination with an idealized/romanticized Greece, from reading too much Revival era literature.

WillB – really? If cars respected the laws and cyclists, we’d need lanes? Even in that elusive “ideal world” where it was universal? I mean, it’s true in Japan, and they have lanes there anyway, but I’m curious what your reasoning is.


WillB
Participant
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ejwme – bikes and cars are fundamentally different vehicles that have different performance characteristics, and travel at different speeds. While it is certainly possible to have reasonably safe interactions between the two on shared roads, a well designed dedicated bike lane will be safer for cyclists. Even well behaved, law abiding drivers have accidents, and those accidents will be deadlier if cyclists (or pedestrians) are involved. Sidewalks are great because they keep pedestrians separated from the much faster (and deadlier) car traffic. Bike lanes do the same for cyclists.


ejwme
Participant
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ok, I’ll buy that… though it is easier for a bike to “act like a car” than a pedestrian. just wondering, as I’ve heard people on here vehemently argue that bike lanes are bad infrastructure (either as implemented, as used, but I’m not sure if an “ideal” properly designed bike lane would also be argued against).


ejwme
Participant
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double post – sorry!


helen s
Participant
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I spent one day and an evening in Athens in early June- I do not recall seeing any cyclists. I do think we (cutlutally and educatiionally from the British morphing into American) spend way too much time fascinating about the early Greeks. Ithaca was just a nice little port town on a nice island, Delphi was a beautiful geographic location, historic Athens was interesting in that the town grew up around a tall hill which was preserved from urban development for more cultural activities. But I wondered why we spend so much time on all of their gods and myths and not those of other cultures. My public education gave me so much more information on them rather than others, and even those closer to home such as the natives who orignally inhabited North America.

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