During the last two weeks, representatives of the Center for the Environment and Giro di Sarajevo, together with a representative of the European Cyclists’ Federation, held meetings with government officials to present the Best Practice Guide of the Safer Cycling Advocate Program.
The dynamics of the presentation of the Guide was realized through five meetings with representatives of ministries, directorates and public companies important for this area. The first meeting was held in Banja Luka on February 22 at the Ministry of Transport and Communications of the Republika Srpska, where, in addition to employees of the Ministry, representatives of public companies “Roads of RS” and “Highways of RS” were also present. The presentation was followed by the presentation of the Guide at the Federal Ministry of Transport and Communications in Mostar on February 24, while the day after, on February 25, two meetings were held in Sarajevo: at the BiH Ministry of Communications and Transport and the Sarajevo Canton Ministry of Transport. The final meeting was held at the Ministry of Transport of the Brcko District on March 4. An additional, sixth meeting was held on March 5, with the representative of the Delegation of the European Union to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Guide itself has been translated into BHS languages and copies have been distributed to all present at the meetings. During the presentation, the most important parts of the content of the Guide were highlighted, as well as examples that can be applied in the legislation, and later in practice in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The focus of the advocacy was on informing government officials about the current shortcomings and the necessary key changes in the umbrella documents that affect the technical and legislative organization and conduct of bicycle traffic in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which includes:
- Guidelines for the design, construction, maintenance and supervision of roads, Book 1, Part 1, Chapter 4: Functional elements and surfaces of roads,
- Ordinance on the basic conditions that public roads, their elements and facilities on them must meet in terms of traffic safety
- Rulebook on traffic signs and signalization on roads, the manner of marking works and obstacles on the road and signs given to traffic participants by an authorized person.
“With clear examples of best practices from the Guide, it was pointed out that knowledge of best practices is a good precondition for competent institutions to publish quality project assignments for bicycle infrastructure projects and thus directly qualitatively influence the preparation of project documentation, taking into account the current shortcomings of the cycling infrastructure in BiH’’ – points out Damir Margeta, a traffic engineer and associate for infrastructure development in Giro di Sarajevo.
It is further emphasized that the Guide, although only forty pages long, sublimates the basic knowledge of dozens of papers it references, and provides a broad basis for collecting data on cycling, understanding the needs and types of cyclists, lists dozens of well-established and proven practices from Denmark, the Netherlands and other European countries – authorities for the development of all aspects of bicycle traffic. “The present civil society organizations are a valuable partner in the process of improving bicycle traffic and have invaluable information on the real needs of cyclists on the field, and as such must play a much greater role in creating both policy and practical applications,” adds Dragan Kabic from the Transport program, Center for Environment.
Goran Lepen, on behalf of the European Cyclists’ Federation, points out the following: “This is an example of transnational cooperation fostered by the ‘FedEx Europe’ and the ‘Alliance of NGOs for road safety’, where the ECF collected proven examples of good practice from its member organizations from Denmark and the Netherlands and summarized them in the Best Practice Guide with the primary aim of increasing road safety for cyclists. The use of such a document represents an opportunity to simplify the preparation and implementation of interventions on infrastructure, and the benefits in addition to increasing safety, are multiple: such as more equal distribution of infrastructure without favoring motor vehicles, encouraging sustainable and active mobility, reducing noise and pollution, etc. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that a bicycle is the solution to many problems in urban transport, and with this project we want to show that even more.”
The meetings in front of the institutions were attended by:
Milanka Čegar-Kajtez, Andrea Banović and Spasoje Mićić on behalf of the Ministry of Transport and Communications of the Republic Srpska
Dejan Babić, “Roads of RS”
Nikola Ćopić, “Highways of RS”
Tomislav Bojić, Federal Ministry of Transport and Communications
Samir Džaferović and Dragan Radović from the Ministry of Communications and Transport of BiH
Samira Softić, Roads Directorate of Sarajevo Canton
Admir Palić, Ministry of Transport of Sarajevo Canton.
Bojan Delic, “Roads of Brčko”
Ratko Stjepanović, Vinko Vidović, and Radoslav Kojić from the Public Affairs Department of the Government of the Brčko District of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Drago Stojić and Siniša Jovanović from the Department for Spatial Planning and Property Legal Affairs of the Government of the Brčko District of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Goran Filipović, Delegation of the European Union to Bosnia and Herzegovina
While in front of the association were present:
Tihomir Dakić and Dragan Kabić, Center for Environment
Damir Margeta, Giro di Sarajevo
Goran Lepen, European Cyclists’ Federation