Biking group charges cyclists’ safety is not a priority

Following Cheshin’s death Israel Bicycle Association asserts not much can be done to make bicycle riding safer.

By EHUD ZION WALDOKS
June 21, 2010 02:17
1 minute read.
cyclist

cyclist 311. (photo credit: AP)

There’s a lot that can be done to make bicycle riding safer, Israel Bicycle Association head Yotam Avizohar asserted to The Jerusalem Post on Sunday – the same day Shneur Cheshin was laid to rest after being hit by a motorist while cycling on Friday.

“The number of cycling deaths doubled from 2007 to 2008 and there was a further increase in 2009,” Avizohar said. While the Transportation Ministry had managed to reduce deaths to other atrisk groups on the roads, cyclists had been conspicuously absent from that effort, he added.

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“Nothing has been done infrastructure-wise and local authorities are still waiting for funds from the Transportation Ministry.

Ashkelon, for instance was promised funding which never came through,” according to Avizohar, whose organization lobbies and promotes, among other things, safety for cyclists.

Avizohar also pointed to the NIS 100 million plan which was recently presented by the Tourism Ministry to encourage off-road biking as a tourism attraction.

“The Tourism Ministry chose to use most of those funds for a tourist attraction, rather than increasing bike safety,” he told the Post.

He also said that a government subcommittee established to discuss some of these issues “never meets.”

So what’s to be done? “There’s infrastructure to upgrade and a lot of work to be done with drivers and riders,” he said.

Avizohar was quick to indicate that riders needed more safety education as well.

“He [Cheshin] should not have been riding on that road. It’s a dangerous road where people have been killed before and I’m afraid more will be killed there in the future,” he opined.

Avizohar said that he and the 25,000 riders he represents sent condolences to the Cheshin family and announced that the association would hold a ride on Friday at 10 a.m. to call on the government to take action to ensure cyclists’ safety.

The Transportation Ministry did not respond to a request for comment by press time.


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