Won't you come out to play? I got my bicycle today!

Article published on April 20, 2009
Article published on April 20, 2009
A demonstration without any political overtone, without any atrocity, with a common goal, with the same vehicle and with more than 30.000 participants. Critical Mass moved Budapest again. The message is clear: spreading the benefits of cycling, to raise awareness of this alternative way of transportation.
The aim is to open the eyes of politicians and decision-makers: Budapest (and other Hungarian cities as well) should be a place where cycling is not only a high-day event or is not a privilege of people who are brave enough to ride a bike among cars and buses. Last be not least the „green card” is also an essential point of course; cycling could be a good way to avoid a smog alert and to reduce smog and traffic.

100_1967.jpg More and more people (young and old too) join the initiative to show how important would be the developing of cycle paths. While the leaders of the city do not show too much interest, the number of bikers is growing day after day. This year parents with baby carriages and roller-skaters could also join the demonstration. Because of the lack of cycle paths in the busiest areas of the city, many bikers have to use the pavements. Two times in a year (in spring and in autumn) people are able to ride on their bikes safely, to route without being aware of the traffic.

This year’s first Critical Mass was a big success again. More than 30.000 people attended and cycled from Tabán (II. district) to the City Park (Városliget) where numerous people lifted their bikes in the air. No politics, no economic crisis, even no attraction between bikers and car-drivers; only celebrating the fastest way of transport in a city. Critical Mass is able to collect huge amount of people on the day of the event but the biggest success is that more and more bikers appear on streets of Budapest demonstrating every day the importance of cycling. There is a clear need, there are many people, the benefits are obvious – after all decision makers still sitting on their places without doing anything. Tough during the past years a kind of dialogue has been started between the representatives of the biker’s community and high-officials of Budapest Mayor’s office there are strong concerns that programmes and project aiming to raise the number of bikeways will be laid on the strict cost-cut measures’ altar introduced after the emergence of economic crisis.

100_1971.jpg This Sunday was the day of cycling but more and more people get on their bikes and drive to the work or to the school every day. “It is only, you know…freedom” – said one of the participants. Celebrating freedom, environment and development every day: try it, be part of it and see you in the city somewhere!

Photos: Balázs Rákóczi