What a fantastic film from our friends at Hungarian Cycle Chic, wrapping a year of cycle chic in Budapest.
There are a handful of cities out there that serve as an inspiration to the world in the way they have gone from no bicycles to an armada of bicycles and Budapest is one of them. (Paris, Barcelona, Bordeaux, Seville are among the others). A mere five years ago the city was as car clogged as anywhere else and the percentage of people cycling hovered below 1%. Now they're at 5% and rising. It has been a combination of implementing the all-important separated bicycle infrastructure and passionate advocacy based on promoting cycling positively.
Bicycle planning consultants will usually say that getting from 0% to 5% bicycle traffic is the hardest step of all for a city. After that it's a bike ride in the park. Getting from 5% to, say, 15% is much easier. Cars still dominate in Budapest and the traffic makes a North American city look calm and civilised but change is in the air. The revolution is underway.
Budapest has adopted an approach that is close to our hearts and that is something we write about over at Copenhagenize.com - promoting cycling positively and aiming the promotion at Citizen Cyclists - potential bicycle users, as opposed to the existing sub-cultures. Cycle Chic Hungary works closely with the Hungarian Cyclists Club to develop campaigns that sell cycling to the mainstream. Just look at the kind of films they produce - they're brilliant.
The film, above, is a testament to the hard work the bicycle advocates are doing in Budapest. Citizen Cyclists - and a whole lot of Cycle Chic - are redefining the urban space.
Budapest is also famous for its Critical Mass, or rather Civilised Mass. There are two of them a year and the one I rode in featured 20,000 people on bicycles. It was a slow day. The record, I believe, is 80,000.