Safety barriers on streets a 'temporary' fix, says Rīga Council

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Poles and barriers separating bicycle lanes from the street in the center of Rīga have prompted heated discussions between drivers and cyclists, businesses, and first responders. Latvian Television reported July 25 that the poles are considered to be a temporary solution, and in time some of them could be replaced by safety islands.

The poles and barriers are needed for road safety: to protect cyclists and pedestrians and to prevent dangerous maneuvers.

“Some drivers are not satisfied with this, it is a fact, but apparently such a separation of spaces is the price to be paid to make everyone safer,” said Tālivaldis Vectirāns, head of the Transport Ministry's Department for Road Infrastructure.

Poles are used also in other countries, and they have proven to be effective in improving the safety of pedestrians.  “On pedestrian crossings which had at least one accident a year previously, there have not been repeated accidents at this time,” said Jānis Vaivods, director of the Riga City Council Transport Department.

The Road Safety Directorate (CSDD) said the bars are rather a temporary solution, and in the long run the problems should be corrected by appropriate planning, projecting or rebuilding the street. This opinion is also shared by the Riga City Council.

“This is a temporary solution, in the future we will address the issue of replacing bars against permanent islands in the middle of the road, but it is a time-consuming process in which design works are to be carried out,” said Riga City Council representative Vaivods.

The exception would be the bike lanes, which will also be separated by bars or poles in the future. On the other hand, the construction of safety islands is likely to take place in the coming years, since procurement will not be announced before 2022.


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