Budapest and Prague: the most cycling-friendly cities in Eastern Europe, but still playing catch up to Western European counterparts
Among the major cities in Eastern Europe, Budapest and Prague stand out as two of the cities with the best-developed cycling cultures and infrastructures.
According to the travel website, Wanderlust, both cities were among the top 9 in June 2021 for cycling in Europe and have some of the highest levels of household bicycle ownership in Eastern Europe,
reports Euromonitor International.
The Hungarian Club in Budapest in June 2020 launched a map that compiled all the available cycling routes in the city. This gained popularity with residents, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic, which prompted a renewed interest in individual and eco-friendly transportation.
Prague has immensely improved its cycling scene over the last decade. In January 2021, the city announced a CZK 122 million (USD5.6 million) investment in cycling and pedestrian infrastructure, with a focus on building bicycle paths, stands, and shelters for bicycles. The city currently boasts 515 cycling routes, covering 125 km.
Despite the improving cycling scene in Budapest, Prague, and other Eastern European cities, there is still much to be desired when compared to some of the most cycling-friendly cities in Europe, such as Utrecht, Amsterdam, and Copenhagen.
In addition to the continued rollout of bicycle lanes, municipal governments need to introduce new initiatives that incentivise bicycle usage, such as reduced speed limits for cars, prioritising cyclists at traffic lights, and providing safe bicycle storage at key transit points (such as bus and train stations).
Source: Euromonitor International