By Tamara Sukhomlinova
The restrictive measures introduced this summer for movement of cyclists, sparked public outcry. Bitter disputes are still runung.
Restrictions apply to embankment area, the favourite place for citizens. Bike driving in this part of the city (on both sides of the Ural River) is forbidden from 7pm till 11pm. Installed relevant signs are eloquent of the new ban.
– We were forced to introduce these restrictions due to large amount of complaints that we received from citizens. The embankment, especially its left-side is a lively public place, but at the same time it is very narrow. The number of incidents increased when cyclists run-down the pedestrians,- said Ruslan Espanov, Deputy Chief of Administrative Police of Atyrau Department of Internal Affairs.
We approached the prosecutor's office to provide explanations of the legislation and received the answer that on the basis of Article 463-8, part1 of the RoK Administrative Code we can introduce restriction for movement of cyclists. Considering the fact that there are no special places in the city for driving bicycles, we applied only time restrictions. Now the number of complaints became much less, as well as the number of cyclists at the embankment. So far, we haven’t fined anybody(the size of a fine for violation of above-mentioned article of the Administrative Code is 5 MRP (9 260 tenge). In case the violation is repeated during one year period, then the fine is double - 10 MRP (18 520 tenge).
Sergey Sudzilovsky, the activist of the community of cyclists “Movement is life!”shared his opinion with regards to introduction of the restriction:
– This restriction to us, cycle fans, of course, is not a pleasant thing, but we understand that restrictive signs were established for a reason.
But this restriction has also a reverse side of the coin. In my opinion, it is wrong to impose any bans or restrictions without offering other alternatives. After all, there are not a single place in the city for cycling! Only the traffic road is left, but many cycle fans are scared to drive on the motor roads. But there are still many ways to solve this issue. For example, it would be good if 1,5 meters from each side of the new airport higway is allocated for bicycle lanes. We should admit that every year the number of cycle fans is increasing. Therefore, this should be considered during the design and upgrading of city infrastructure activities.