In a turn of wheel, the Israeli government announced last week that they were investing $12.6 million of the 2008 budget in bicycling programs. The new biking programs will emphasize cycling as an important means of transportation that will be good for the environment and for our wallets.
Its first initiative will be the construction of a 13.5 mile bike path along the Tel Aviv- Netanya highway to promote biking as recreation. The Transportation Ministry will also support municipalities in creating cycling infrastructure and in helping more of their citizens to put pedal to pavement.
I know it’s one of my goals for 2008 to get on a bike and explore more of Israel, so I was excited to hear this news.
Critical Mass: Monthly Bike Rides from Tel Aviv
With thoughts of the new cycling programs on my mind, I was pleasantly surprised to receive word that Israel will be joining Critical Mass for this first time this December, a monthly bike ride for recreational riders that is enjoyed in over 300 cities worldwide.
It is not a product of the government’s new campaign, but one that will complement it nicely.
Critical Mass describes themselves as follows:
“Everyday, all over the world, people are resisting the problem culture of the car by getting on their bikes and riding, instead of driving. Critical Mass is a celebration of the alternatives to cars, pollution, accidents and the loss of public spaces and freedoms. Not an organization or group, but an idea or tactic, Critical Mass allows people to reclaim cities with their bikes, just by getting together and out-numbering the cars on the road.”
Stating their goals, they say:
- We ride because bicycles don’t pollute, don’t make noise, and don’t kill
- We ride because we are happy…
- We ride to set the ground for changes in municipal policy
- We ride to remind people that we exist, and form an integral part of city life
- We ride to meet each other, chat about bikes and life, and strengthen our own community
- But most of all, we ride because it is super fun to ride as a group. The more people, the more fun
Israel’s first ride will leave from Rabin Square in Tel Aviv at 13:30 on Friday, December 28th. Future rides will take place on the last Friday of every month.
Go to the website (in Hebrew and English) or contact the organizer for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo by Kris Cohen
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