Italians are a people of cyclists. For passion, sport or tourism. With a good dose of stubbornness, especially in cities where bikers usually do not always have an easy time.
And if the desire of urban bicycle does not find administrative policies yet, the excitement continues to spread even on the streets of Rome, driven by the passion of some of the most important people.
The last example arrives from the Government. To follow the major Ignazio Marino, now there is the new Minister of Infrastructure Graziano Delrio, a long-standing cyclist.
“Feet and bicycles are two great means of conveyance”, said Delrio with a smile, before to go away with an e-bike.
In this way, people can move along the city streets in freedom, without stand in line and wasting time to find a parking. Even in a city like Rome, in which – according to the latest figures – every driver spend about 93 hours per year standing in line.
“A better quality of life and a better ability to take possession of our time and our community will arrive with the promotion of the bicycle”, said Delrio in 2012, when he was mayor of Reggio Emilia, opening the States-General of the bicycle.
Today, he sent this message to the ‘Stati generali della mobilità nuova’ (New Mobility Stats-General) in Bologna’: “With tenaciousness I continue to move from home to work by bike; and, seeing the shocked and ironic people reactions, I realized that the road ahead is still long before our community will get used to consider feet, bicycles and public transports as smart means of locomotion”.
“We have to turn the keywords safety, innovation and smart mobility into concrete actions. We already underlined that regular planning and procedures are the right way and we added works of sustainable metropolitan mobility”.
The meeting in Bologna ended with the request to the Government to: a national plan for urban mobility, the commitment to resume the procedure of approval of the ‘Highway Code’ reform, the birth of the “Associazione per la mobilità nuova” (Association for a new mobility) which brings together most virtuous cycling municipalities in an alliance that gives strength at the action of the ‘Mobility System’.
Priorities identified by the five working groups (city, public area, safety, childhood and tourism) will be soon joined in the “Carta di Bologna”, a programmatic document to redirect national, regional and local policies.
Among its contents: to compel municipalities to bring under the 50% the share of individual journeys trough the territory by car; to change the ‘Highway Code’ by introducing the limit of 30 km per hour inside urban centers; to bind for the realization of works for the local public transport - commute and non-motorized - at least the 50% of the national and regional expenditure allocated to infrastructures for the mobility; to provide tax incentives for companies that promote the use of public transports or bicycles to go to work; to adopt the Isa system (Intelligent speed adoption) as standard security to control and limit the cars speed.
Like Delrio, during the last day of the ‘Stati Generali’ in Bologna also the deputy minister for infrastructure Riccardo Nencini talked about the investment for cycle paths and the cycling tourism. He explained that: “there are some legislative measures but we have to well-organize them. We talk about it both in the new legislative ‘decree of the road’ and at the minister of the environment, inside the new bill about the local public transport, considering within the new urban plans for weak mobility”.
Looking abroad, the delay is great and we have “to run”. Nencini says that: “the new urban plans rarely consider cycle paths. In Bologna we only use the bicycle at the 8%, in Cagliari at the 0,7%, which means nothing. We still use cars at the 70% and trains at 10%. This obligate us to run very fast”.
Bologna continues to take the lead. The city will provide, within a year, a “bike-plan” to promote the use of the bike in urban movements, not just with signs, itineraries and tracks, but also with marketing and communication plans, to encourage both citizens and tourists to go by bike.
“Bologna - explains the city mayor Virginio Merola - in three years had an increase of 30% of cyclists and today the 10% of urban movements is by bike. We want to grow even more, because go by bike is healthy but also sustainable for the environment, and often is also the fastest way to move into the city”.
There is an announcement - sponsored by the ‘Urban Center’ and expiring the 7th of May - organized to identify the person who will take care of the technical project. Then, we will ask to associations and citizens to contribute to the bike-plan.
The collective mission is to make Bologna a bike friendly city such as other European cities, like Copenhagen and Berlin.
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