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New Lanes Hope to Improve Bike Safety

A group of cyclists on the Moscow River embankment.

Riding a bike in Moscow may soon be safer and more regulated after amendments to the traffic code went into force Wednesday.

The new rules are intended to ensure safety for cyclists as required by the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic, a memo from the Transportation Ministry said.

The ministry also hopes to win people over to cycling and decrease car traffic problems, Kommersant reported.

Four kinds of traffic zones have been established specifically for cyclists: pedestrian paths, bicycle-pedestrian paths, bicycle paths and bicycle lanes, which will also allow mopeds. The first three pathways are all physically separated from car traffic.

The new zones will be accompanied by 15 new types of road signs and three new road surface markings.

Age restrictions have also been introduced for the first time in Russia. Children younger than seven are allowed to ride on sidewalks and pedestrian paths, while children from seven to 14 can ride on the main road when wearing a helmet and in the company of an adult.

The new legislation is in line with the Moscow government's ongoing campaign to encourage cycling as an alternative to inching along in the city's ever-worsening traffic jams.

The city started a bike-share program in June that now includes 50 docking stations.

It is unclear how the new rules will be enforced, especially those regarding children's ages.

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