Helsinki: The Roads Are Paved with Good Intentions

Helsinki is a progressive city. Much about it transportation does impress me. I have seen few SUVs. Cable cars run through the city, and they seem to be environmentally friendly (at least to the extent possible. Nearly every city has a bike lane. But, whoever planned this combination stopped just short of, well, planning. Good intentions did not translate to effective design.

I am a cyclist … at least I was before some asshole stole my beloved Trek 1000 in mid-town. I hope he crashes and winds up in the hospital (I can’t wish actual death, or even severe injury on anyone, unfortunately). So, I was jazzed to hear thta Helsinki is bike-friendly. I ave never been to a city that is. The problem, though, is that the bike paths overlap with the sidewalks, and neither is clearly defined. I almost got clipped by a rider my first day here. Also, unless you ride a mountain bike or hybrid, the bike paths are about as bad as the cobblestone streets.

Trolleys are cool, right? Well, when they travel the roads– the same roads as the cars– it can be interesting. It is possible to see a trolley, bus and car jammed in traffic, while a pedestrian alks straight into a guy on a purple woman’s bike wearing headphones (literally just rode by me).

Yes, it’s the thought that counts. But, where was the thought in this case?


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