The first meeting of associations dealing with the development of cycling in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina was held from November 16th to 18th in Banja Luka, organized by the Center for Environment. The meeting was attended by associations that focus on the topic of promotion and development of urban cycling, but also those that deal with the development of cyclotourism.
– This is the first in a series of meetings and workshops that will be realized in the coming years in order to have in a couple of years a strong and functional network of associations that will fight for more space for cyclists on our streets, as well as their greater safety. The colleagues from Croatia and Serbia, with whom we have been cooperating for a long time, shared their experiences and brought closer the participants on how associations are struggling for better conditions for cyclists and why. It is important to distinguish cycling as a way of moving either in urban or rural areas and sports cycling that represent sports activity – said Tihomir Dakić, coordinator of the Transport program from the Center for the Environment.
As a part of the two-day meeting, guests had the opportunity to use the free-bike sharing system “BL-Bike” provided by the City of Banja Luka, and with the interactive presentation of bicycle infrastructure, as well as traffic in the city, they could see the conditions for Banja Luka’s development of cycling and what are the challenges that the city will have to face sooner or later. The participants presented their impressions:
– The situation is similar in all countries that are lagging behind in the development, and the biggest problem is the unregulated crossroads for cyclists – said Marko Stančec from the Zagreb’s Sindikat Biciklista.
Zoran Bukvić, from the ‘Streets for Cyclists’ association from Belgrade, emphasizes that the existing problems that Banja Luka has to solve as soon as possible:
– It has much fewer problems than Belgrade, but it is also a comparatively smaller city. Unconnectedness of the infrastructure is evident – Bukvic said.
Biljana Krtalić from the Cycling club Mostar compared the two cities and concluded that Banja Luka, compared to Mostar, has much more space and opportunities for the development of infrastructure, and that it is necessary to work on educating young cyclists about traffic rules as soon as possible.
The city is ideal for the development of cycling, according to Majda Ibraković and Redžib Skomorac from the Zenica’s Youth association ‘Nature and Society’.
– Compliments for new bicycle tape, though they are a little narrower than they should be. There is a need for better signalization and correction of illogicalities related to how parts of the paths start and end – said the representatives of this association.
That Banja Luka, from all the cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, has the most opportunities for development of cycling, said Željko Novaković from the Bicycle Club Sveti Nikolaj from Brčko:
– Many cities are looking at Banja Luka, and it is important that cycling infrastructure continues to develop so it could be a good example for other cities in BiH – concluded Novaković.
Associations attending this meeting were: BK Sveti Nikolaj (Brčko), LIR Evolution (Banja Luka), Nature and Society (Zenica), BK Mostar, Herzegovina Bike (Mostar), Eko Leonardo (Priboj) and Bike Tour (Lukavac) while colleagues from Sarajevo from the association Giro di Sarajevo and BK Trek could not attend the meeting this time. In addition to the associations from Bosnia and Herzegovina, as examples of how the region is organized, guests were Zoran Bukvić, member of the association Streets for cyclists from Belgrade and Marko Stančec from the Zagreb’s Sindikat Biciklista.
The meeting was realized with the support of the European Cyclists’ Federation whose Center for the Environment is a full member since 2016. The meeting is just one of the activities that CfE is organizing during the process of development of a network of associations dealing with the development of cycling in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina.