By Raluca Fiser
Cycling … to work, shopping, meeting friends, taking your child to school and of course for fun and health… in Bucharest? Green Revolution believes this is possible and in the last 10 years they have fought for the rights of cyclist and for behavioral changes within Romanian culture, through it’s I’Velo bike-sharing projects, Bike2Work campaigns and legislative involvement.
In a city facing air pollution infringement while simultaneously and not coincidently ranking first position having the worst traffic congestion in Europe, the bike seams the most logical, easy and healthy alternative for citizens’ transport. But it is much more difficult to promote this sustainable transportation mode and the subsequent healthy lifestyle than it might seem at first glance.
Green Revolution took up this challenge in 2009 and developed the first bike-sharing station to turn people to bikes. These bikes were initially used in the secure perimeter of the parks in six cities in Romania. Green Revolution, along with its sponsor Raiffeisen Bank, has from the very beginning, aimed to promote cycling as a viable means of transportation. Then in 2017, I’Velo Urban was born with the support of Raiffeisen Bank and Kaufland Romania, the first automatic bike-share project. A 100% Romanian development in hardware and software, Green Revolution develops and operates this project 365 days a year. Today, 1,7 million unique users have said YES to I’Velo. Meanwhile, Green Revolution is working on developing I’Velo 3.0, the first hybrid bike-sharing station, accommodating the needs of modern urban citizens – by developing stations which share bikes as well as e-scooters.
Still, a proper, safe cycling infrastructure is missing in Bucharest and in other cities of Romania. More sensible legislation and regulation at both the national and local level are not in place yet. As long as Romanian authorities’ prioritize cars over people in their policies, we won’t be able to unleash the whole potential and socio-economic benefits of cycling.
We do, however, see a rising number of people cycling. Commuting to work by bike is a great start. Therefore, Green Revolution works next to C-level to promote cycling as a sustainable and healthy means of transportation. The European Cycle Friendly Employer Certification is not only a tool for recognizing the efforts a company is doing for its employees, but a tool box to help and improve and continue best practice.
What will it take for our vision of sustainable, healthy and livable cities to be realised? A great team, the right sponsors, a bit of craziness and a will to prove that “where there’s a will there’s a way”.
So join the ride!