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'Bike to Work' Day Promotes Cycling in Beirut

'Bike to Work' Day Promotes Cycling in Beirut

Wednesday, 17 April, 2019 - 13:45
Lebanese Environment Minister Fadi Jreissati participating in Bike to Work 2019
Beirut- Asharq Al-Awsat
Several hundred Lebanese citizens pedaled on Wednesday to their destinations, ridding Beirut of a tiny bit of its daily traffic and exhaust fumes.

For the third year in a row, the Chain Effect, a non- profit organization, held its "Bike to Work" event in Beirut aiming to restore bicycles' status as a mode of daily commuting transport.

The initiative aims to encourage citizens, including students and employees, to experience the advantages of commuting by bicycle.

In Beirut, the municipality secured twelve kilometers of temporary bike lanes- against only three last year. In the suburbs, three park-and-ride stations were installed, allowing peri-urban residents to park their cars to complete their daily journey steering a bicycle.

The event took place in partnership with bicycle shops across Beirut, who provided free bike rental for participants, as well as selected cafés and restaurants who provided coffee and sandwiches. Universities, companies, and municipalities were involved in the campaign to expand reach and break the misconception that cycling is impossible.

A number of officials, lawmakers, and diplomats participated in the event, including Environment Minister Fadi Jreissati; MPs Eddie Maalouf, Hagop Terzian, Elias Hanaksh; and Switzerland's ambassador to Lebanon Monika Schmutz Kirgoezn.

"The goal of the bicycle ride is to raise awareness and send a message to people about the importance of using environmentally friendly transportation," said Jreissati. "I would like to thank the Chain Effect for its Bike to Work initiative.

"If we look at the thousands of people who are traveling in cars, we are sadly aware of the pollution of the transportation sector and the emissions of up to 25 to 30 percent," he warned, urging the Ministry of Interior to cooperate with the Ministry of Environment in order to create permanent bike lanes while tackling all safety concerns.

Meanwhile, Beirut Mayor Jamal Itani announced that the municipality will create 16 kilometers of dedicated bike lanes throughout Beirut in the coming year, as part of a larger plan to address traffic congestion in Beirut.

"We, the municipal council of Beirut, have been working for a while on solutions for the traffic flow," he said. "We are talking about the city of Beirut's traffic system, and we’re making local solutions and larger solutions."

Hoping that dedicated lanes will help address safety concerns keeping Beirutis from cycling, Itani stressed: “Of course we can’t say we’re going to make bike routes without ensuring the protection of the people.”

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