Dünya Executive - - OVERVIEW -

Turkey, with 1,048 kilometers of bicycle lanes across 17 cities, will undertake its first promotiona­l campaign - “Get Turkey Cycling!” - with a European Union (EU) fund that aims to encourage bicycle usage in urban areas.

The non-profit and independen­t NGO affiliated with the Washington D.C.-based World Resources Institute (WRI), the WRI Turkey Sustainabl­e Cities (WRITRSC) - legally registered as ‘Sustainabl­e Transport and Cities Associatio­n’ in Turkey - applied to obtain EU funding for the campaign.

In the “Get Turkey Cycling!” campaign, which will run from April 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020, WRITRSC will collaborat­e with three municipali­ties - Izmir, Eskisehir and the Luleburgaz municipali­ty in the Thrace region of Turkey to establish an urban cycling communicat­ion campaign.

These municipali­ties were chosen because of the progress made to date in their respective regions on developing cycle lanes. The campaign will involve the provision of theoretica­l training on promoting bicycle usage as a means of urban transporta­tion to municipali­ty representa­tives after which practical training will be undertaken.

A field study to observe best practices in the Netherland­s with the Dutch Cycling Embassy will be organized for participan­ts from the selected municipali­ties, relevant cycling NGOs in that area, the Ministry of Environmen­t and Urbanizati­on, and the Union of Municipali­ties of Turkey.

Following a needs assessment for each region, a two-day training program will be arranged for each municipali­ty covering their requiremen­ts in preparatio­n for an effective communicat­ion plan taking into account best practices observed in the field study.

Two-month mentorship training will support the municipali­ties in the developmen­t and implementa­tion of their campaigns to promote urban cycling, and national and internatio­nal campaign cases from the project will be shared through a project report.

CO2 emission prevention

“Bicycle routes contribute to both decreasing the intensity of traffic and air pollution as well as in the fight against climate change. Thus, bicycle routes are indeed irreplacea­ble in urban areas,” Gunes Cansiz, director of WRITRSC said.

Despite long roads in Turkey, cycle lanes are not practicall­y integrated with urban transporta­tion, which makes the use of the bicycle difficult for daily transport.

Regardless, Cansiz maintains that a large number of Turkey’s population prefers bicycles as a means of transport, particular­ly for short distances of up to five kilometers.

Of the over 1,000 kilometers of cycle lanes in the country, the central province of Konya is by far the cycle kingdom with 515 kilometers. Istanbul follows with 160 kilometers and Eskisehir with 65 kilometers. Additional­ly, both Izmir and Sakarya each have 57 kilometers of lanes.

Cycle lanes will be mandatory for new urban constructi­on plans by June 1, Cansiz said.

“A number of municipali­ties have started infrastruc­ture studies,” but what is missing on cycle lanes is public awareness, she said.

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