Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Vienna's Bike Lanes in Winter

I am back in Vienna, this time for a month. The temperature here is about the same as in Boston, and it is snowing intermittently. I am feverishly preparing a talk for a big conference tomorrow, but in the meantime I give you a tour of the bike lanes near my new place:

This is a pretty typical bike lane in Vienna. The snow is mostly cleared, but this morning there were some patches of ice. Cycling on the road is prohibited in areas where bike lanes are provided.

Intersection: bicycles wait for green and ride parallel to the pedestrian crossing.

Bike lane ends: bicycles proceed on the road along designated bike route.

Continuation of bike route on the road. 30 km/h speed limit (though to my eye cars go faster). Notice the tram tracks.

Close-up of tram tracks - yikes! They criss-cross and there is basically no way to avoid them. The thought of cycling parallel to these for several blocks on an icy day fills me with dread (see this post about railroad tracks) and I did not see any cyclists on this street today, despite it being a designated bike route.

What do you think? This is a different neighborhood from where I used to live when I had my own apartment here last year, so I am still exploring it. Overall it looks like I can cycle here, and I do have access to a bike this time around. More on that later!

22 comments:

  1. yay for a bike in Vienna ( did you ever get that vintage foldie? I def think your stable deserves a very nice foldie esp since you travel a few times a year. just saying)

    have a great month, knock em dead on your talk and keep updating when you can!

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  2. eek! I share your anxiety about those tram tracks... I get a bit nervous crossing tracks when it is dry, never-mind when it is wet and/or icy.

    Right now Vienna looks a bit better than our fair city of Camberville; as we just had a pretty decent storm yesterday... but with temps near the 40ºF mark for this week, hopefully it'll be gone quickly!

    Safe travels!

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  3. They look nasty, slippy and treacherous! Speaking as a wimp, I think I would be walking or taking the tram!

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  4. I suppose the nice thing about a bike is you can get off and wheel it where there's a bit you don't fancy. That's how I handled the ice and snow this winter and after a while you find your confidence grows as you get used to it.

    Not a fan of those compulsory bike lanes though. Especially if they're not going to clear them properly

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  5. The tram tracks would fill me with dread, too.

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  6. Having spoken to a number of friends and acquaintances here who cycle at this point, most say that what gets them are the constant transitions between having a traffic-segregated path and not having one at all, not even a lane.

    Somewhat to my surprise, I have seen fewer cyclists around so far than I was seeing in Boston prior to leaving - but maybe the day is just particularly crappy and this will change.

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  7. My Velorbis Scrap with the Fat Frank tires would love to take on those tracks.
    May I ask what your talk is about?

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  8. I'd be getting off and pushing where the tram tracks intersect the bike route *shudders*. You mentioned in your post last year the pros and cons of Vienna's bike lanes and bike paths. My concern would be integrating with the four-wheeled traffic when the paths and lanes come to an end. One would hope that drivers are aware they will be sharing their own lanes with cyclists.

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  9. I don't like the idea of compulsory segregated bike facilities. Changing from a bike path to a road at an intersection is really the most time consuming and annoying process that reminds me of endlessly waiting as a pedestrian for a 5 second crossing light (many street lights here are biased for cars). I hope Viennese bike paths have a more organic way to merge with the road path, but from the picture it seems like it dumps you right into parked cars at an intersection, going the wrong way... nice.

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  10. It's true that balloon tyres are less likely to get stuck in a train track groove and divert your front wheel, but you still have very little friction on wet steel regardless of whether it's a track or a manhole cover and it's best to be going in a straight line without a lean whilst crossing one. Of course these tracks often appear when the cyclists has to turn and look both ways to navigate traffic. It's difficult to add "down" as yet another direction to look for danger.

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  11. I'm old enough to remember when we "knew" the future was going to be one of ubiquitous raised monorails (at least until we got that whole flying car thing, ummmm, off the ground). This wasn't just some futuristic fantasy, it was grounded in reality; the problem of rails on the ground.

    We loves trains, my precioussssss; we hates tram rails, we do.

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  12. Don't know about Strudel, but I had about 5 Melanges and a piece of Walnusstorte. Feeling good!

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  13. Will you be visiting your friend with the Retrovelo? I'm curious to know if she's happy with her purchase.

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  14. Mr. Haramis - Yes, I hope to see her soon! This is her post about the Retrovelo Paula, which arrived a week or so ago.

    What was my talk about? Well I guess I could tell you. But then I'd have to....

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  15. Very interesting. I love that bicyclists get their own infrastructure; I hate tram tracks and mandatory usage. I look forward to hearing/seeing all about your adventures there.

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  16. "What was my talk about?..."

    Velouria, International Cyclist Of Mystery!

    So did the person you rented the paratment from have anything to say about cycling in that particular district?

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  17. Corey - she is an experienced cyclist and says it's absolutely fine to cycle here - with the exception is icy or slushy conditions, like now. Also, the "problem" with cycling in Vienna for transportation, is that the public transport - especially the cute tram system - is so convenient. The tram stops at the end of my block and takes me directly to my conference. Does it make sense then to cycle in the winter, in a suit, on a road with slippery tracks (along the very same tram route, hence the tracks)? Not really.

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  18. Gotta love Freud's birthplace. If you haven't already, go check our his house with the famous red couch.
    OK... no need to reveal the topic of your presentation. Mostly, I wanted to know if it was related to your blog.

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  19. "Gotta love Freud's birthplace."

    Now THAT'S pretty Freudian.

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  20. Mr. Haramis - Re Freud's house: done (I have been here on and off for over 2 years). Though the one in London actually has more of his things, because of the circumstances under which he left Vienna. Sadly, my talk was not at all related to bicycles.

    kfg : ))

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  21. V-
    How can I say this in the least creepy way?? I think I know where you live! I just saw your neighborhoods post, and the Rite Aid and Scott/Museum/Irving-ish St pictures confirmed my suspicions. I'm living by the FoodMaster now and am keeping my eyes extra peeled for Eustacia when you return!

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