bike2work project manager and 'public policy' team member, Israel Bicycle Association ('Israel Bishvil Ofanaim').
Yesterday, minutes before the launch of "Sovev Tel Aviv", the biggest bicycle event in Israel, in which over 20,000 cyclists participated; Mayor of Tel Aviv, Mr. Ron Huldai and Yotam Avizohar, Director of the 'Israel Bicycle Association' signed the Charter of Brussels of the European Cycling Federation (ECF). By doing so, Tel Aviv joined an impressive list of cities committed to the promotion of bicycle transportation. The Ambassador of the Netherlands, His Excellency, Mr. Caspar Veldkamp, and the Belgian Ambassador, Her Excellency, Mrs. Bénédicte Frankinet, honored the event with their presence.
Mayor Ron Huldai signs the Charter of Brussels which is a committment to promote cycling transportation in Tel Aviv. Photo: Yael Tzur
Charter of Brussels. Left to Right: Pe'er Weisner (council member), Bénédicte Frankinet (Ambassador of Belgium), Caspar Veldkamp (Ambassador of the Netherlands), Yotam Avizohar (director of 'Israel Bicycles Association'), Mr. Ron Huldai (Mayor of Tel Aviv), Moshe Tyomkin (council member). Photo: Yael Tzur.
The goals that Tel Aviv Municipality is committed to by signing the Charter include activities to increase the number of cyclists, improve cyclists' safety, fight bicycle theft and contine the cooperation with bicycle organizations.
Yotam Avizohar, Director of the Israel Bicycle Association, a member of the European Cycling Federation (ECF) said: "We congratulate Tel Aviv for joining the impressive list of leading cities that promote bicycle transportation.
Data from a cycling survey made in Tel Aviv shows that more than 14% of the daily trips in the center of Tel Aviv area are made by bike and that in the last two years there has been a 50% increase in the number of residents using bicycles as their means of transportation.
Currently, there are more than 110 km of bike lanes in Tel Aviv, although most of them are either in parks or "painted lanes" on sidewalks. Three years ago the Municipality started to pave "real" bicycle tracks, seperated from cars and pedestrians. In April 2011 a Bike Share Project has been inaugurated. It has 150 bike stations, 1,500 bicycles, over 17,000 subscribers, and tens of thousands of daily and weekly subscribers. The project is a success, and the green bikes are seen everywhere in the city.
Ambassador of the Netherlands Caspar Veldkamp congratulated Tel Aviv-Yafo for the big cycling event and for joining over 60 cities in Europe who have signed the Charter Of Brussels of the European Cycling Federation (ECF).
Cities that have already signed the Chartet of Brussels (Press here to view on Google Maps)
Ambassador Veldkamp said: “84% of the population In Holland owns at least one bike. There are many obvious advantages to cycling: it's clean, it's green, it's cheap and it's the fastest way of getting around in a city that is equipped for it. Tel Aviv-Yafo is a city of innovation. We applaud Tel Aviv’s municipality for transforming Tel Aviv into a cyclists city and hope to have been an inspiration as a cycling nation”.
Ambassador Veldkamp added: "We believe that the clear advantages of cycling (for health, environment, freedom from worry about rising gas prices, parking spaces and traffic jams) will lead many more residents to adopt the bicycle as a means of transportation for commuting in the city. The developing infrastructure in Tel Aviv and events raising public awareness will contribute to the growth."
In the next few months, the 'Bicycle Encouragement Bill' will be submitted for its second and third readings in the "Knesset" (Israel's Parliament). The main items in the bill include mandatory planning for bike lanes in cities, bike-parking places and showers for cyclists riding to work, financial incentives to encourage commuters to bike to work, promoting campaigns for raising cyclists’ safety. The Bicycle Encouragement Bill, if approved, will enable many more cities in Israel to join Tel Aviv and become bicycle friendly”.
CHARTER OF BRUSSELS
Cycling contributes to:
Liveable cities, efficient urban transport, less congestion, less traffic noise, healthy physical activity, road safety, clean air, fighting climate change, saving fossil fuels and sustainable tourism.
On the occasion of the Velo-city® 2009 conference in Brussels
Undersigned cities commit themselves:
This city, together with all the other cities signing this charter, call upon the European Commission and the European Parliament:
Furthermore, the signers of this charter call upon all authorities worldwide, at all levels to strongly promote cycling and to incorporate cycling into all areas of policy (health, spatial planning, city management, economy, mobility and traffic, leisure, sports, tourism).