bucharest bicyclists organized a protest ride on saturday. they say we were 4,200. i say: we may very well have been!
the protest was a wave of strong and optimistic energy. my expectations for a solution are low. but it was great to see so many people practicing their right to protest against impractical decisions.
the recent history shows that the city hall made an investment of 11 million euro in about 100 kilometers of sidewalk lanes. they were never convenient. or efficient. but that no longer matters since they have been outlawed. yes, they practically threw out the window an 11-million euro investment. this is how romania has been working since the end of communism. politicians come and go. and their efforts to line their own pockets destroy any chance of stability. to say that the romanian people has had enough of this political mumbo jumbo is a mild understatement.
presently, the bike situation is absolutely murky. nobody knows (bicyclists or the police) who is allowed to ride where. are we allowed to pedal on the street, along with the cars? perhaps, but we are certainly not protected by the law or by a dedicated lane. are we supposed to pedal on the side walk, zigzagging among the pedestrians? i don’t think so. there are certain central areas where we are supposedly banned from. the only little victory i can think of is that we are allowed to ride the metro now. for very limited periods of time and in make shift conditions, it’s true.
so we demand an inclusive infrastructure. bikes are the cheaper, healthier and greener choice. if they will encourage bicycles, traffic will naturally decrease. bucharest should be safe for everybody and we should have the option to burn calories instead of burning fossil fuel.
this protest was probably just the first battle. but we are ready to win this war, one pedal at the time!
video credits: google search