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More than 1,000 downtown motorists daily breaking Lönnrotinkatu studded tyre ban

Police have started issuing 100-euro tickets to drivers using studded tyres on a central Helsinki street.

The intersection of Fredrikinkatu and Lönnrotinkatu in Helsinki's Kamppi neighbourhood. Image: Roni Rekomaa

Police are issuing 100-euro tickets for failure to comply with a ban on studded winter tyres on Helsinki's Lönnrotinkatu street.

The majority of motorists driving on Lönnrotinkatu in the capital's Kamppi district are still using studded winter tyres, despite a ban that's part of a three-year pilot to improve air quality and reduce noise in the area.

"This doesn't seem to be working," Dan Pasterstein of Helsinki's traffic department said on Twitter, adding that more than a thousand drivers should be issued a 100-euro ticket every day.

The pilot, which began at the end of September, is set to run through 2025. At the end of last month, police issued their first ticket to a driver failing to observe the studded tyre ban.

Drivers who want to use studded tyres can take alternative routes. The alternative route to Ruoholahti is some 300 metres longer and traverses Mannerheimintie and Pohjoinen Rautatiekatu. The alternative route to Kamppi and Punavuori is Bulevardi, adding about 200 metres to a trip.

Following the implementation of the Road Traffic Act in 2020, drivers should be using winter tyres from the beginning November until the end of March—depending on local weather conditions.

They can choose either studded tyres or friction tyres with a deeper tread.

Street dust caused by studded tyres grinding on roads has, however, been shown to reduce air quality in the capital, according to the City of Helsinki.

"Street dust that decreases air quality consists of gritting and materials released from the street surface, especially when studded tyres grind on the street. The dust affects sensitive groups, such as children and persons with asthma, cardiovascular diseases or lung diseases, in particular," the City of Helsinki said in a statement earlier this autumn.

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