Extract from the interview with Jarosław Głowacki, Vice Mayor of Siedlce, Poland on 23 July 2016

Duration: 56 min

Kloss: How do you get people on bikes in Siedlce?

Glowacki: When there is a mutual respect between traffic particicants, then there is a basis for a rational expense of money. Cycling infrastructure is essential, but without mutual respect the expenses would be very big.

Kloss: How can respect be established between traffic participants?

Glowacki: You have to start early with the education of the children. My wife is teacher, she can tell you something about that.

Glowacka: We promote cycling tourism in schools.

Glowacki: Also the introduction of habits is important. When car drivers are sometimes also cycling, they understand the cyclists better. Concerning the traffic infrastructure we are far behind. 30 years ago in Siedlce were a few hundred cars. Nowadays we have 40.000 or 50.000 cars and the infrastructure in the centre is not prepared for this at all. There are different expectations. Some people want to ban the cars off the city and close streets for cars, others want exactly the opposite. To foster cycling we realize projects. Right now we are standing on the bicycle track „green Siedlce“, which goes around the city at the city boundary. The municipal officers are very busy in this field because we have many problems. And when there are many problems, there are plenty of solutions. But we have only half of the money to solve these problems, so we have to be creative.

Kloss: There are always conflicts between traffic participants. There are risky car drivers as well as risky cyclists, not only one group is to blame, it’s about humans. Of course traffic behaviour courses are good. But what really solves conflicts, is to give everyone its space with a smart organization of infrastructure, for instance with built bicycle paths. Do you plan a bicycle path here?

Glowacki: Yes, here. At a street of this rank the regulations even demand a built bicycle path.

Kloss: Keyword bike-friendly buildings, bike parkings? Especially at the big residential buildings. Do you plan or consider that?

Glowacki: Right now we are preparing for a competition „Bike-friendly community“, 2nd edition. Last time there was an initiative from the city. Many parkings for bicycles were created. Now we document these results to motivate also private persons to do something.

Kloss: Can the city control the number of bike parkings at new built buildings?

Glowacki: Unfortunately not yet, only for car parkings.

Kloss: We understand the reasons for the extreme growing motorization in Poland, but instead of investing in the adaptation of cities for cars now, it would be much more advantageous to invest in sustainable mobility and cycling infrastructure. It saves money and time, because later you will have to do this development anyway.

Glowacki: This is a good place where we meet today. This street is only for cyclists and pedestrians. The experiences from the west are very worthy. I have ambivalent feelings. The Germans are hindering the realisation of highways due to environmental restrictions. But in Germany are already highways everywhere, that’s why they can introduce such regulations. I would have said ok, if they would have closed half of them, then I would have had thought about not building a highway here. But if you drive from Siedlce to Warsaw at 4pm, you can get stucked in the traffic jam for 3 or 4 hours.