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Taking Care of Walking

7/17: Cyclists` advocacy for walkers

7/17: Cyclists` advocacy for walkers

Walking is a must. More and more people are aware of it. But sometimes the sidewalks get narrower, cars and cycles are threatening the pedestrian. But there are friends. Bike riders sometimes also advocate for the pedestrian, in many places around the world.

I heard it at Velo-city, the world's most important bicycle advocacy event, in June. Where walkers do not have a clear voice and the cyclists do, cyclists sometimes stand up for the rights of the two feet.

Cyclists as advocates for walking

Take Matti Koistinen of the Finnish Cyclists' Federation (Pyöärliitto). His organization plays a role in many, just executed speed reductions for cars, all over Finland. Important for cycling and walking. Increasingly, forty or thirty kilometers are the maximum speed. Their big event this year is called VeloFinland 2017 & Walk This Way.

Slow streets

In the United States, cyclists and runners work together. I met the enthusiastic Becca Wolfson, director of the Boston Cyclists Union. Her organization is lobbying for bike paths, teaches biking and even helps repairing bicycles. At the same time, it supports residents who want better streets and good outdoor space. Riders and cyclists must both have more space, she thinks. Extra money is supplied for a Slow Streets Program.

Friendly cities

In Germany, cyclists' club ADFC works on improved pedestrian facilities. Isabelle Klarenaar from the regional state of North Rhine-Westphalia explained the existance since five years a separate organization in which ADFC and this state together pay more attention to cyclists and pedestrians. This organization is called AGFS, where the F and the S are simple for Fussgänger- und Fahrradfreundlicher Städte.


In The Netherlands a catch up on collaboration is necessary. Wim Bot, the principal policy advisor of the Fietsersbond: “Bicyclists and pedestrians need each other’, he told. The awareness is growing that coalitions between several NGO`s offer opportunities, according to the Dutch Cyclists`Union.

ECF also involved

Velo-city is organized annually by the ECF, the European Cyclists` Federation. This time in Nijmegen and Arnhem. ECF is lobbying for and participating in several friendly cities’ programs that promote walking, cycling and good outdoor space. “Walkers and cyclists should not allow themselves to be played off one against the other", many Velo-city participants said to me. "More cycling paths as a result of sweeping space away from pedestrians, that's no good. You must refuse measures that mean more cycling but work out almost negatively on walking”.

July 6, 2017

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