Opinions This is a debate post. The post expresses the writer’s attitudes.
Every other year The Cyclists’ National Association «Norway’s best cycling city». The winner will be announced at the National Cycling Conference in Hamar 12-13. September. It is always exciting to follow the position Drammen gets. So far it has been somewhat disappointing. In 2016, Drammen was in 14th place, but fell to 17th place in 2018.
It adopted the goal in Drammen, eight percent of all travel is to take place by bicycle. The corresponding figure for areas close to the city center is 20 per cent. However, there are still few who choose to travel green and only around four percent of all current trips take place by bicycle. In addition, Drammen will be Norway’s best cycling city. And all this by 2031.
Therefore, this year selection extra interesting. The big question is whether we have managed to crawl up the list this year and move closer to the goal?
Either way, you might want to look at Paris.
Extreme contrasts in electricity Norway: – Persistent unrest and high uncertainty
Paris has reviewed a bicycle revolution. Five years ago, Mayor Anne Hidalgo and City Councilor for Transport and Urban Space, Christophe Najdovski, presented a very ambitious mobility policy with the goal of creating one for adapted people and not cars. They have done that. The number of cyclists has increased by 80 per cent and the number of kilometers of cycle path has increased by 40 per cent. Major main streets in Paris now have more bicycles than cars.
They did not believe that weather conditions, cultural or geographical conditions were the reason for the bicycle share. That infrastructure, on the other hand, was just right. The cycle paths must be of high quality and be physically separated from the motorized traffic. Road marking does not provide the same safety, says Najdovski in an interview with the Cyclists’ National Association.
Which I save parts of the world, increased use of bicycles, walking and public transport are also key instruments in norwegian climate and health policy. Nevertheless, we are far behind schedule. The potential for increased cycling is enormous. More than half of all journeys in 2020 were less than five kilometers, and seven out of ten journeys were less than ten kilometers. Despite this, the bicycle share nationally and in Drammen was only around four percent. If Drammen is to become Norway’s best cycling city with a 20 per cent bicycle share in areas close to the city center during a ten-year period, a much greater focus must be placed on measures. And it has to happen at a faster pace. We allow ourselves to make some suggestions.
Firstly the Road Traffic Act should be adapted and revised to the current traffic situation. At the same time, focus must be placed on predictable and safe conditions for soft traffic edges, which also includes clear signage. We believe that requirements and minimum solutions must also be established for bicycle parking around public arenas and busy hubs, especially in the center of Drammen and the other settlements in the municipality.
– It is the biggest nightmare that it will happen here
A very important Measures to get the inhabitants of Norway and Drammen to choose green transport alternatives are to establish schemes and incentives that contribute to making cycling attractive. This can be, for example, mileage allowance, VAT exemption on bicycles and bicycle repair and a toll bonus, where you as a cyclist get a bonus during rush hour. At the same time, we believe that the business community should be more involved in motivating employees to choose active trips to and from work.
Last but not least at least, we believe that the municipality must take advantage of the opportunities in the largest infrastructure roofs that are being built now. The hospital in Drammen and Fjordbyen in Lier are good examples of new projects, where in addition to the development itself, areas around can be made both safe and efficient for micro-mobility and public transport.
What they have obtained in Paris shows how far behind we are in Norway. In a few years, one of the world’s largest cities has become a nicer, quieter and not least more accessible city. In Norway and Drammen, there are many plans for cycling, but now it’s time to focus on measures.
We hope that both politicians and employees in municipalities and counties will actively participate in the discussion and planning ahead, so that we can put in place measures that contribute to more active travel. If we are to become more cyclists, it must be better organized, more efficient and safer to cycle and there must be real incentives that motivate more people to travel actively. It is about both cycling infrastructure and cycling culture.
So if Paris can, maybe we in Drammen can too?