ULICE ZA BICIKLISTE
"Ulice za bicikliste" (English: Streets for Cyclists) is a project started 2 years ago to promote the usage of bicycles as a mean of transport in Belgrade. Unfortunately in Serbia the awareness for bikes is low and in order to change that, I founded Belgrade Critical Mass. Since then, once a month cyclists are taking to the streets...
A few words about me: I am from Austria and I spent 9 months in Serbia doing European Voluntary Service there in a Youth Club ("OSMEH"). I am a passionate cyclist but in Belgrade I was afraid in the beginning to participate in the chaotic traffic. There aren't any bike lanes in the center of the city but many holes in the streets, car- end even bus-drivers are speeding and yelling at everybody else. As a cyclist you have to keep a clear head not to get run over by anybody and therefore not many people are using bikes in their everyday lives.
Belgrade didn't have a Critical Mass that far, so I had the idea of starting one. Some people from the small cyclist-community supported the project and on the 30th of april 2011 it took place for the first time. To make clear what we want we chose the name "Ulice za bicikliste" (English: Streets for Cyclists) and around 30 people attended the first ride. Since then, cyclists are meeting once a month and claiming the streets of the city center for them. On the one hand, they want to promote cycling as a clean and efficient way of transport and encourage the city government to create proper infrastructure. On the other hand it's a lot of fun to participate and an experience of
freedom on the roads.
"Ulice za bicikliste" is steadily growing. The biggest event so far could attract around 300 people (and was stopped by police). I am very proud that some locals started to be engaged in the project and it continued after I left. Recently "Ulice za bicikliste" even got registered as an organisation and it is now officially recognized and cooperating with the city government bodies.
Thanks to the promotion via social media, the event caught the attention of some people in other cities in Serbia and they started to organize similar projects too, e.g. in Novi Sad, Valjevo and Šabac.
I think it just shows that the right idea at the right time can make a huge difference and serve as an example for lots of people."
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