Jerusalem. Not a dream city for cycling. It’s many hills, random intersections, cobbled roads, virtually inaccessible Old City, I tried. I really did. I cheated on Tel Aviv and lived in Jerusalem for 2 years. But I could never get around by bike. Despite its difficulty, there are plenty of people who do like to ride and build their calf muscles and they are protesting this Friday to the city, with the message:
“While cities in Israel and across the world are taking advantage of the current pandemic to improve their bicycle infrastructure, the Jerusalem Municipality is doing… nothing.”
According to the group Bicycles for Jerusalem, they say that coronavirus times should have shown the City Hall how lack of public transport puts a strain on people and services. And that cities around the world understood this and made cycling a more important part of getting around the city.
“While we are big fans of public transportation, and firmly believe that it is a critical component of a well-functioning city,” announces the group, “we understand that many people will in the near future be trying to find alternatives. If the only alternative is a private car, our city will become more congested than ever, and will grind to a stand-still. The Municipality needs to take swift and definitive action to provide a better alternative.”
One of the most popular alternatives to the bicycle in Israel is the dockless e-scooter, like from the companies Wind Mobile based in Europe. Networks were shut down over the peak of the COVID-19 crisis here, so the bicyclists of Jerusalem have a pont.
The cyclists of Jerusalem say that they aren’t asking for the moon, but just some strategic bike lanes along main arteries, a move that would require some paint and traffic cones: “We want the Municipality to organize bicycle acquisition groups to encourage people to get on bicycles – starting with its employees and then residents. We want the municipality to install ramps to make the numerous steps across the city more accessible. We don’t need everything to be perfect, we want the city to start,” the group adds.
If you want to cycle or be part of a movement that does, jump on two wheels and pedal around the Holy City this Friday with a distance of a few yards between your buddy. And a helmet. Cycling safe.