NEWS

The city needs bike lanes

Katerina Stamidi, 25, is a teacher. She started cycling at the age of 5. «I learned to cycle in a playground in Neo Psychico, near home. I’ve been cycling for 20 years and I find it very convenient.» And she hastens to make it clear that she uses it for short distances. «I use it for errands: to go to the local market, to pay bills in Halandri, or even to go for coffee. I often use it to get to the metro, and I lock it up outside,» she said. Does she use it in winter? «The best time is now, when it doesn’t rain a lot.» Isn’t she afraid? «The first two or three days I was scared because there are no bicycle lanes. Then you get used to it. You work out how you have to drive and if a bus comes along you try to make it easy for them. I don’t insist on going in between the lanes of cars like motorcycles do.» So far she has not had any disagreeable experiences but she agrees that Athens is not a cyclist-friendly city. She still hasn’t gone downtown on her bike, though she will go to some points on Kifissias Avenue. Katerina insists that bicycles are for all seasons. She believes Athens needs fewer cars and more bike lanes. And she dreams of a city with less pollution where «you don’t have to think whether to take the bike or not.»