The audit revealed that the Ministry of Transport is misleading about the progress of cycling infrastructure
Slovakia is not building cycling routes at the speed specified in its strategy.
The Department of Transportation has failed to achieve a major goal in its cycling strategy.
The Office of Supreme Audit found in August that bicycle transport represented 5 percent of total transport in 2021, when the share was already supposed to be 10 percent.
“Slovakia is lagging behind in the construction of cycling routes, which are increasingly important and useful, not only in terms of developing the economy by supporting tourism,” said Deputy Head of the Audit Office Jaroslav Ivanso.
He added that the construction of bicycle roads is gaining a special dimension in terms of the use of bicycle transport as a supporting factor for traffic.
With the lack of bicycle routes and the high number of cyclists on the roads, traffic accidents involving cyclists are increasing. In 2021, the police reported 583 such incidents, a 13 percent increase compared to eight years ago.
Of the total 39,670 kilometers of local roads in Slovakia, cyclist routes made up 5 percent. Of this, cycling routes exclusively reserved for cyclists or pedestrians were 1.9 percent.
The audit office said the public sector must improve bike path financing, coordination and the legal environment to achieve the cycling strategy goals faster.
No data on financing and cycling methods
Three people in the Department of Transportation, for example, coordinate bicycle transportation for the entire country. There are five people in Bratislava.
The audit office also found that the targets in the 2013-2020 strategy were assessed in a formal manner, meaning that they were all marked as completed or close to completion by 2014, although many were not completed.
Funds from the state budget is another problem. It is not earmarked for transporting bicycles on a regular basis even if a mechanism has been in place since 2015. From €10.8 million to €13.6 million has to come from the mechanism each year.
The auditors found that more than 12.4 million euros were allocated at one time in 2019.
However, in Slovakia, EU funds remain the main source of financing for bicycle transport. The audit found that municipalities are still struggling to withdraw EU funds and prepare high-quality projects due to the unpredictability of time.
Moreover, the Department of Transportation has not recorded any data on the amount of money invested in bicycle transport and tourism, nor on the length of the bike paths created.
According to the Slovak Cycling Club, there are 854 km of bicycle routes in cities and 16,190 km of bicycle routes used for tourist purposes.
Missing infrastructure affects people’s decision
The auditors also noted that the current cycling routes in the cities do not constitute a comprehensive network and do not always link to the cycling paths established by the autonomous regions.
Many cities also lack connections to bus and railway stations as well as transportation points. The audit office emphasized that the lack of infrastructure could have a significant impact on residents’ decision to use bicycles as a means of transportation.
Part of the National Cycling Strategy included a plan to create a website with information on bike transportation and cycling tourism, which was not present when the audit was conducted.
The auditors concluded that legislative support for building cycling infrastructure is insufficient.
#audit #revealed #Ministry #Transport #misleading #progress #cycling #infrastructure