To impress upon Knesset candidates the critical importance of improved cycling
infrastructure, the organization Israel for Bikes led hundreds of
environmentalists on a bike ride across Tel Aviv on Friday
Joining the cyclists were Tzipi Livni and MK Yoel Hasson, a
Tzipi Livni Party candidate, as well as Green Movement head Prof. Alon
The cyclists were rallying to express their disappointment that for
four years, bills aimed at increasing cycling safety have been stalled again and
again, despite the fact that their creators are ministers and Knesset members
from the coalition, they said.
Meanwhile, bicycle parking regulations
signed by the interior minister last year were frozen, and the budget spent on
developing cycling infrastructure in the Transportation Ministry has been
negligible, according to Israel for Bikes.
Aside from Tel Aviv, where the
portion of the municipal budget dedicated to bike-riding has allowed for the
establishment of 120 kilometers of bike paths, the country as a whole is not
realizing its cycling potential, the organization argued. Following Tel Aviv in
second place is Herzliya, with only 17 kilometers of bike paths.
the existing understanding in various government ministries that it is necessary
to encourage cycling on a daily basis – as part of a healthy lifestyle and for
quality of life, environment and increasing accessibility for the entire public
– and despite the alleged commitment to work to increase riding safety, the
investment on this subject has been negligible,” said Israel for Bikes CEO Yotam
Israel for Bikes members and other environmental activists are
demanding that Knesset candidates commit themselves to an existing bill that
encourages bicycle transportation going forward, promotes bike path construction
in cities and institutes economic incentives for cycling to work, the
This bill was passed in its first reading in 2008 but
has since been blocked again and again, according to the group.
of the small Greens party got on their bikes on Friday as well, as part of a
campaign to increase public involvement in controlling the quality of the air
“This trip is designed to protest the lack of a proper
budget and worthy plan for bike paths throughout the country,” Livni said.
“Bicycles are an alternative to cars and to polluting transportation, and
contribute to the environment.”
Livni and her party colleagues promised
that the cyclists would have her support, and that she would promote a target of
10 percent bicycle usage for daily travel to work.
“It’s time that the
state takes more responsibility for promoting the subject and defines clear
objectives for the advancement of bike transportation in Israel, while expanding
the budget devoted to the subject,” Tal said.