So-called “bicycle streets” and special traffic lights for public transport are among the amendments to traffic rules approved by the Lithuanian government on Wednesday.
Some of the new regulations are aimed at making traffic more bicycle-friendly. As of June 2022, some streets in town centres and resorts can be designated as “bicycle streets”. Cyclists will be allowed to drive along the entire width of such streets, while cars and other vehicles will have to observe a speed limit of 30 km/h.
“Cyclists [...] don't have to keep to the side of the street, in other words, they [bicycles] are an equal vehicle to all the others,” Transport Minister Marius Skuodis said while presenting the changes on Tuesday.
Cyclists say, however, that cities need to do more to become bike-friendly.
“Putting a speed limit sign is not all, or marking a ‘bicycle street’. Unless the surrounding infrastructure gives a sense that cyclists are safe here, then what's the point?” says Paulius Bakutis, president of the Cyclists Association. “It only distorts the situation.”
At the same time, new traffic signs will be introduced to regulate electric scooters that have become ubiquitous in Lithuania's main cities in recent years. Some streets with intense pedestrian traffic will be made off-limits for electric bikes and electric scooters.
A new rule will obligate electric car owners to vacate charging spots as soon as they finish charging.
Some amendments are aimed at improving traffic conditions for public transport. New lanes, marked “A” (from autobusas, the Lithuanian word for bus) and equipped with special white traffic lights, will be reserved for public transport.
Another category of lanes, “A+”, will be also open to bicycles, mopeds, motorcycles, and cars servicing people with disabilities.