Israel set to join the top division of cycling nations?

פורסם: 27 באפר׳ 2013, 1:17 על ידי: Sustainability Org   [ עודכן 11 ביולי 2016, 13:12 ]
by Kevin Mayne, ECF, 18/4/2013

Bloch bicycle track – Photo by Eran Shchori

The passage of a ‘bicycle encouragement bill’ through the Israeli Parliament could see cycling have legal support on a level in line with some of the world’s leading cycling nations.

The bill, submitted to the Knesset in March has already been supported by 43 MKs (Members of Knesset) would mean that there will be mandatory policies for bicycle infrastructure in cities, bicycle parking facilities, integration between bicycles and public transportation and support of cyclists by employers.

The support of cycling policies with legal frameworks like those proposed is ahead of most countries which rely on local policies and regulations to promote cycling.

Fabian Küster, ECF Senior Policy officer and coordinator of the European Cycling Policy Officers Group for national governments said “We know that there is a strong relationship between national support and local cycling growth. Those countries at the top level for cycling growth in Europe all have a strong national rules and policies as well as local structures.”

The bill comes at a very positive time for cycling in Israel, especially in Tel Aviv where there is a new cycling network and a public bike sharing scheme.

Ron Huldai, Mayor of Tel Aviv-Yafo: “Tel Aviv-Yafo is Israel’s leading city in bicycle transportation, and we strongly support national-level efforts to make bicycle transportation popular in other cities as well. My vision as mayor is to eliminate the need for private cars in the city within the next 5 years. In addition to a successful public bicycle rental system and a city-wide web of bicycle lanes, we also intend to implement an electric bicycle rental system, an electric car rental system, and an innovative SkyTran project.”

Minister of Justice, Tzipi Livni cycling to the beach

The incoming Minister for Justice Tzipi Livni has been publicly praising bicycles “instead of going to the beach by car, we’ve decided this morning to ride there by bicycles. Sporty, saves fuel, and not polluting. I’m sure the Minister of Environment Protection is proud of us.”

Yael German, Minister of Health: “Cycling is a part of an active and healthy lifestyle that the Ministry of Health will promote in a national focused effort to lower morbidity and to change habits. I find many advantages in bicycle transportation: It is an enjoyable sporty action, it is friendly to the body as well as to the environment. That’s why the Ministry of Health supports the proposed bill and will encourage bicycle transportation”.

ECF’s member group in Israel is the NGO ‘Israel Bishvil Ofanaim‘ (Israel Bicycle Association).

Eran Shchori, Bike to Work project manager of ‘Israel Bishvil Ofanaim’ told ECF “We are beginning to make some good progress here in Israel. Political leaders are recognising that cycling can bring huge benefits to our cities in terms of health, congestion and CO2 reduction. We have managed to negotiate bikes on trains, we are promoting bike to work and now we have this opportunity to bring the country to a higher level.

International networks like ECF are vital to this success, getting the Mayor of Tel Aviv to sign ECF’s Charter of Brussels was a big symbolic step for us”.

The bill is currently headed for the Ministers Committee of Legislation, which recommends to the government whether to support the private proposal. Then it goes through various committee stages.


Related articles:
הצעת החוק לעידוד תחבורת אופניים הוגשה לכנסת
'bicycle encouragement bill' was submitted to the Knesset