News / Europe

Traffic-Clogged Moscow Launches Bike-Hire Scheme

Bicycles with the Bank of Moscow log stand ready to rent in central Moscow, May 27, 2013.
Bicycles with the Bank of Moscow log stand ready to rent in central Moscow, May 27, 2013.
Reuters
Hoping to ease traffic in one of the world's most congested cities, Moscow will launch a large-scale public bike hire scheme on Saturday despite fears over road safety.
 
The plan, modeled on similar projects in Paris and London, aims to provide frustrated commuters and tourists with an alternative way to get about central Moscow by docking 1,000 bicycles at roughly 100 different locations.
 
"This is our latest move to boost Moscow's cycling scene, which sadly has been very underdeveloped in recent years despite the fairly large number of bike enthusiasts in Moscow," Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said at one the stations on Thursday.
 
Some Muscovites worry that not enough has been done to protect cyclists on the city's traffic-clogged streets.
 
"It's the wrong way round, they should have introduced cycle lanes first and then brought in the bikes. It's chaos on the roads, I'll only be riding on the pavements," said 25-year old Yelizaveta Ovchinnikova.
 
According to digital mapmaker TomTom's Annual Congestion Index, Moscow has the worst traffic of all cities in the world with journeys commonly taking over double the required time during the near gridlock of morning rush hour.
 
Russia has also gained fame for its erratic drivers with footage of cars overtaking on blind corners, rear-ending each other and careening off the road amassing millions of views on video-sharing site YouTube.
 
Death rates from road accidents are higher than in most Western countries, and Russian lawmakers are moving to toughen drunk-driving penalties.
 
A motorist police say had been drinking and had no driver's license hit a family of three on bicycles earlier this month, killing the woman and injuring the man and their son.
 
"The roads are bit dangerous at the moment, but drivers will get used to cyclists eventually — it's a question of habit," said barman Denis Kazachenko, 26, who said the bike sharing scheme was a great idea.
 
Its launch coincides with the introduction of paid parking in much of central Moscow but there is little sign many motorists, enthusiastic about driving in a country where car ownership was rare before the 1991 Soviet collapse, will switch to cycling.
 
Another worry is the risk that the thin-framed red bikes could be stolen or vandalized.
 
"It's a good plan in principle, but it's only a matter of time until the bikes start disappearing — this is Russia after all," said 30-year-old administrator Katia Sokolova.
 
After registering online, cyclists can use the bikes free of charge for the first 30 minutes or pay 950 roubles ($30) for the season, which lasts until Oct. 31 after which the snow and ice make cycling inadvisable.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More