In Budapest, the President rides in Critical Mass

A friend of mine just returned from Budapest, Hungary, and brought me back a copy of The Budapest Sun with this picture was on the front page. Here is the accompanying story:

Power to the peddle people: critical mass numbers grow for the third consecutive year

April 25, 2007 — Some 50,000 Hungarians, 20,000 more than last year (and including President Là¡szlà³ Sà³lyom for the second time) participated in the Critical Mass bicycle protest ride on Earth Day 2007, Sunday, Apr 22, to promote cycling as a healthy, fast, cheap and environmentally friendly means of transport.

The organizers’ aim is to encourage the local population to use their bicycles for transportation whenever possible, and not for recreation or sports only. Critical Mass Budapest also means to influence decision makers and city planners toward creating more, and safer, bicycle paths in order to reduce traffic jams and environmental pollution in the city. Since the beginning of the protest rides in 2004, negotiations with the Budapest City Council have resulted in an increase in the length of bicycle lanes from an average of 1-2 km/year to 30km/year.

The greatest achievement so far, according to the organizers, is the fact that the number of people using their bicycles on a daily basis in Budapest has doubled for the third year in a row, a growth rate unmatched anywhere else in the world.

The frikkin’ President rides in Critical Mass! Stunning.

Now, do you think we can get our municipal politicians to bike to work during Bike Week?

Photo from The Budapest Sun credited to: MTI

Definitely check out the CM Hungary site too, the logo with mom and dad hoisting bikes with little junior below, is a classic in the making!

6 comments

  1. Desmond Cole was at the October Critical Mass. I would vote for him if he ran for Prime Minister.

  2. This is amazing given that Hungary has a climate similar to ours, with cold winters and hot summers. Here, cycling is a seasonal activity. Is it in Hungary too, or do many people bike even in winter?

  3. Regrettably, our seasons are blending towards warm and broiling, so there’s less and less excuse for the “it’s only seasonal” approach for biking, though in some days and times, a die-hards can be a die-easy, and it’s not so much “fun”.
    And if you ever catch the Penalosa talk, he’s got a great pic from somewhere in Germany of a bit of snow on a road, and the bike lane is quite nicely cleared and salted, but the car space remains white.
    I’m reasonably sure that Dion, May or Layton would ride en masse, though only the latter do I know for sure is a cyclist.

  4. I’ve always thought that the quickest way to get better public transit is to force city officials to use it.

    Somehow the need is never as pressing when you’ve got a private car and driver, paid for out of the public purse, waiting at your door.

  5. I think Toronto cyclist should get together and do a critical mass bike ride every Friday instead of every last Friday of every month in the summer. We could make it impossible for cars to drive downtown and maybe force the politicians to do something about our transit infrastructure.

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