Tel Aviv Cyclists Use Their Hot Bodies to Protest the Naked Truth About Urban Cycling in Israel

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Around two weeks ago, the Israeli Ministerial Committee for Legislation decided not to support a bill that would encourage bike riding as transportation.  The bill would have mandated the inclusion of bike trails in urban plans, allow bikes to be taken on intercity public transportation (like trains and buses), and pave the way for specially designated parking areas for bikes.  It would also provide incentives for employers and employees to make cycling a primary form of transportation to work.

Sounds good, right?  The Israel Bicycle Association and Tel Aviv Rollers thought so too.  Which is why they decided to protest the lack of government support for urban cycling in Tel Aviv last week.

They also decided to show the government exactly what it was missing by not promoting urban cycling – a nation full of attractive, physically fit specimens.  Because the protest was clothing optional.  (Check out how far the naked cyclists took their protest in the clip above.)

bicycle-protest-israelThe protesters also spoke out against the stiffening of a helmet law for cyclists.  According to the Israel Bicycle Association, the best way to ensure biker safety is not by requiring a helmet, but by making sure there are separate lanes for cyclists.

Yotam Avizohar, the head of the Association, said that the “government doesn’t seem to really understand what biking is – a daily means of transportation for hundreds of people.  It’s not just a hobby for a select few mountain bikers.”

Avizohar and the Association fear that the helmet law will deter people from riding their bikes.  According to Avizohar, “in the three countries which have a similar helmet law to ours – Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa – there’s been a sharp dropoff in riders.  Whereas there isn’t such a sweeping law in Denmark or Holland, yet they are serious biking countries.”

:: Israelity

Read more about urban cycling::
The Cycling Nightlife in Jerusalem
Tel Aviv Cafes Offer Great Cappucinos and Free Bike Rentals
Cicleta Sprint Bicycle Messengers Take Over Tel Aviv
I Have a New Bike, Should I Make it Ugly?

About Karen Chernick

Much to the disappointment of her Moroccan grandmother, Karen became a vegetarian at the age of seven because of a heartfelt respect for other forms of life. She also began her journey to understand her surroundings and her impact on the environment. She even starting an elementary school Ecology Club and an environmental newsletter in the 3rd grade. (The proceeds of the newsletter went to non-profit environmental organizations, of course.) She now studies in New York. Karen can be reached at karen (at) greenprophet (dot) com.

11 thoughts on “Tel Aviv Cyclists Use Their Hot Bodies to Protest the Naked Truth About Urban Cycling in Israel

  1. Teddy

    About Toronto, interesting comparison with Montréal actually. In Montréal we have no helmet law but we do have dedicated bike lanes with concrete medians separate cyclists from traffic. Since those medians went in two years ago basically, we have had aggravating bike traffic jams at summer rush hour (i.e. a rush of cyclists). In Toronto there are helmet laws but no dedicated bike lanes, and no bike-jams.

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  4. Ellen

    Its’ Darwinan. We are now a world of Eggshell heads. So now it important to wear helmuts. Or die. (o.k. boneheads, wht did you really think?, that now people just became more vulnerable/sensative?have more feelings?)

  5. Michael Green

    Personally, I always wear a helmet when on 2-wheels in Israel. The drivers are crazy.

    Nevertheless, the compulsory helmet law is something of a smokescreen for the paucity of real measures for ensuring the safety of cyclists, notably decent infrastructure. Encouraging more people to get on their bikes is the answer: “Safety in numbers.”

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  6. Ray

    As an Australian cyclist I refute the claim that making helmets compulsory has caused a decline in cyclists here — the opposite is happening, bike sales are booming and an increasing number of local government authorities are creating bikeways.
    Helmets make sense. A woman I know was recently in a horrendous accident where her helmet was actually split. Had she not been wearing it she would be dead.
    Conversely a man I know fell off his bike in pre-helmet days when going very slowly (he hit loose gravel), banged his head and received permanent brain damage.

  7. Julia

    There are also helmet by-laws in various municipalities in Canada such as Toronto. Doesn’t seem to affect the percentage of people who ride bikes. Plenty-o-bike riders in Toronto. It becomes sort of engrained in biking and it’s really not a big deal.

    Okay it doesn’t get to the root cause of bike-related accidents, but it will only act to protect against these injuries which are certainly possible especially since there are no designated bike lanes in most places in Israel. Personally I think it is negligent to allow children to ride their bikes without a helmet – and I see it all the time here.

    Why would a helmet law deter people from riding their bikes? If someone wants to ride they’ll ride. With a helmet is the same as riding without a helmet. It doesn’t change the enjoyment of a good bike ride.

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