Have been cycling between home and workplace most of the days in the last couple of weeks. One day I resorted to taking the bus. The afternoon before, the conditions were just impossible for bicycling. In the morning it was ok, but it snowed all day, the temperature was too warm, and when I rode back home in the afternoon, the roads were covered in 10 cm of very slippery, slushy snow. I'm beginning to understand why the eskimos have so many words for different kinds of snow. Because there really are that many different kinds, and they can change really quickly, and they affect the bicycling conditions. A lot.
You know, I really like bicycling. I like the fact that I can transport myself with my own vehicle, efficiently, anywhere I want, when I want to do it, independent of anyone else's schedules. I like the beauty of it, the cleanliness, the ecological sustainability of it. I find it the perfect means of transport for most of my transportational needs (i.e. for whenever I don't need to go very far, very fast, and take the family with me).
I very much prefer bicycling to taking the bus, or the Lamborghini, the Ferrari or even the Fiat 500 each morning to work. I don't need anyone to make bicycling any more attractive for me (which is an objective of the Helsinki city, I hear: to double the amount of bicycling (whatever that means), in a certain timeframe). I'll ride the bike anyway. I'm a nutcase, according to the general opinion.
Anyway, if the big shots of Helsinki want to improve the attractiveness of commuting to work by bicycling, I've got an idea. What if they plowed the bicycle routes better than the roads? Because now, the light traffic pathways are taken care of later than the roads (even weeks later), snow is often plowed from the road to the bicycle route, huge heaps of snow are piled on the side of the road (= where the bicyclers go) etc...
Therefore, if you want to make bicycling more attractive, as compared to taking the bus, or driving your own car, you could do it vice versa: plow the bicycle routes first, do them really well, and pile any extra snow to wait to be taken away in the middle of car lanes. That way, bicycling would be really fast, fluent and satisfying. Driving your own car would be really f**king annoying, frustrating, slow and inefficient. And sometimes impossible.
If they really want to make bicycling more attractive and motoring less attractive, there really are means to do that.