Vienna ‘cycling highway’ construction starts

Construction of a new “cycling highway” started in Vienna this morning (Fri).Work for the 3.5-kilometre path along the Wien river will cost 5.3 million Euros, city officials have said.The track – which hikers will also be allowed to use – will connect Hütteldorf train station in Vienna-Penzing and Kennedy bridge underground station in Hietzing district. It will continue the cycling path between Auhof and Hütteldorf which has existed for four years.Construction of the new section is set to be finished by the end of this year.Meanwhile the Vienna Greens announced it will continue sending out their “bicycle ambulance” troops this year.The team of cycling experts will repair minor damage to the city cyclists’ bikes at more than 100 locations for free throughout 2010. Greens official Christoph Chorherr said the team fixed 1,500 bicycles last year.Chorherr said the initiative was an appeal to encourage residents to cycle more often.He said that cycling was currently just six per cent of overall traffic in the capital, while recent Austrian Traffic Club (VCÖ) figures revealed Bregenz in Vorarlberg had a cycling traffic share of 19 per cent. Salzburg and Graz are neck-and-neck in second place with 16 per cent, VCÖ expert Martin Blum said.Chorherr said he hoped Vienna would become like Copenhagen when it comes to cycling since cyclists make a for 38 per cent of overall traffic in the Danish capital.Austrians cycled on average 225 kilometres in 2009 with an overall distance of 1.9 billion kilometres being covered by bike that year. Almost two million of the around eight million Austrians cycle several times a week.Around 500,000 bicycles were sold in Austria last year, while more than 25,000 bikes were reported as stolen.