When I first visited Tel Aviv about 12 or 13 years ago I was one of the only cyclists on the road, along with a few other nuts, and the African immigrant workers hauling around skeins of fabric in South Tel Aviv. It was regarded as dirty (because it’s so hot you sweat like a beast), and an activity for people who couldn’t afford a car. I couldn’t understand public transport, and getting around by bike in flat cities is always the best, despite the crazy traffic in Tel Aviv. But much has changed over the last decade. Haaretz reports that about fourteen percent of all Tel Avivians are riding their bikes as the main form of transport to work or school.
This may be thanks to the successful, if not frustrating Tel-O-Fun bike sharing program in Tel Aviv. But I think it’s also due to the rising gas prices, increasing traffic, impossibility of finding a parking space and better awareness to the environment and one’s health. It’s cool to ride bikes along the bike lanes and promenades of Tel Aviv, especially those ones shaded by large trees.
According to the new poll, Haaretz reports: “Some 23.5 percent of central and southern residents said they ride their bikes habitually to reach all destinations, compared to only five percent in north and east Tel Aviv and Jaffa.
“Nonetheless, private vehicles are still the most popular means of transport among central city residents. In the northern part, two-thirds of the residents use private cars, and in Jaffa half of the population uses buses regularly.”
This is all good news, despite the city-wide bike impounding rampage.
Image of cycling in Tel Aviv from Shutterstock