by Antonio Bassanesi
The hard life of a cyclist in Florence. Between the motorbikes running along the bike lanes to avoid traffic and with cars using them as parking spaces. They often change color or get close to the blue lines, and the risk of being completely hit is just around the corner. On one of the hottest days of the year, we tried out a test run on a bike path and on three trails to check out their weaknesses as well as their strengths. We start our journey from the road that runs from Viale Aleardi to Piazza di Porta Romana. The only danger to be faced, on a morning when the cars in circulation can be counted on the fingers of one hand, is precisely the motorbikes that weave between buses and cars, honking their horns for traffic, forcing motorcyclists to make sudden maneuvers. Another problem is the bus lines that often willingly occupy the bike lanes, especially in Viale Petrarca. Even then, it becomes difficult for the cyclist to get around. “Not to mention all the smog you have to breathe in – says Mario Turrini who has decided to sell the car and travel by bike only as a ‘life option’ – and then because of all the problems you have with crossing the city sometimes, “they have to take back roads or even walk on sidewalks. I know it’s not allowed, but it’s the only way to avoid being run over.”
On the other hand, from Piazza Porta al Prato to Via Tocili, it takes a moment. The bike path (new and well laid out, despite the protests of many residents) takes you to San Jacopino and Novoli in just a few minutes. The danger here, however, is the motorbikes, which run wild with the risk of confusing the poor cyclists who ride slower instead. However, be careful when traveling along the bike path that runs from Via del Campofiore to Piazza Alberti: in some stretches the asphalt has completely collapsed and the road is full of potholes: “Last week an old woman ended up riding his bike. He broke his nose when he fell.” On the ground,” the complaint of those living in the area who have repeatedly asked management to “help redevelop the road. Every now and then you have to watch some workers replace the red surface with black asphalt that bumps and peels easily.”
Another “black hole” of Florence’s bike paths is Lungo L’Affrico: with barriers every 5 metres, depressions created by tree roots, and motorbikes parked at every entrance to prevent the passage of two wheels. After that, the entire path is covered with dirt, vegetation, dry pine needles, and rubbish. It is a really difficult road to tackle (and in fact there are few two-wheelers who choose to cross it) which will be the subject of a major redevelopment that the municipality must start by the end of the year and which also includes more green spaces and new sidewalks. The other stand that might need a redesign is the one that runs from Ponte alle Grazie to Piazza Ferrucci: the first and last sections are in perfect condition, but once you get to the Mascagni terrace, when you have to share the pavement with pedestrians, it’s just that. drama. Above all for the complete absence of markings and for the asphalt that has fallen off.
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