Public Awareness Campaign “Let’s Cycle in Belgrade!”

Within the framework of the „Support to Sustainable Transport in the City of Belgrade” project (implemented by UNDP Serbia in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment, Mining and Spatial Planning, as well as the Secretariat for Transport and Belgrade Land Development Agency, and financed by the Global Environment Facility) the “Let’s Cycle in Belgrade!” public awareness campaign has been launched in late 2011.

The campaign was conceived in order to promote cycling as a means of transport in Belgrade. The objective of the campaign is to raise awareness on the positive aspects of cycling and to put this transport mode in the forefront, not only as a recreational activity, but as a proper transport mode in its own right. The campaign should point out the environmental, economic and health aspects of cycling, and help a significant increase of number of cycling trips in everyday traffic in Belgrade, thus contributing to lowering the greenhouse gas emissions and improving the environment.

One of the objectives of the cycling campaign is to change the behavior of the citizens towards choosing the most efficient transport mode. In this connection the desired behavioral change is quite clear: more walking and more cycling and less use of motorized means. Replacement of driving with public transport combined with walking/cycling also falls within the overall objective of energy-savings and reduced environmental impact.

The campaign is envisaged to involve children, youth (students, (un)employed), working people, and elderly. The biggest attention should be given to students, youth and working people as these are the groups that primarily participate in the urban transport and their awareness must be raised. The groups of citizens that already use bicycles or walking as transport means to travel in the City should also take active participation in the Campaign as they are the best ambassadors and promoters of the “green” modalities. The campaign and behavior of the people in the target group will also have a “rub-off” effect on people adjacent to the target group.

A certain number of citizens identified through the survey undertaken at the start of the campaign will be selected for the ambassadors of the campaign, who will be given the task of promoting the main ideas and objectives of the campaign through numerous activities and media interviews that will be organized.

Objectives of the campaign

  • Achieve a modal shift and increase the use of bicycles in everyday trips within the city;
  • Improve the safety of cyclists in traffic in Belgrade;
  • Prepare and disseminate material facilitating bicycle rides in the city;
  • Present successful models of cycling in city conditions;
  • Promote cycling using its environmental, economic, social and health benefits.

Activities so far

Promotional Bicycle Ride, 10 June 2012
A promotional bicycle ride symbolically connecting the old and the new part of town in Belgrade under the title of “Bicikliraj Beogradom”, or “Ride a bike in Belgrade” was held on Sunday, June 10. The event grouped several hundred cyclists, who started their ride at 11:00 from Trg Republike / Republic Square in downtown Belgrade, passing through the historical center of the town, before crossing the bridge and ending the ride in New Belgrade’s Usce Park. The participants received commemorative T-shirts and water bottles, and refreshments were on hand. The event was organized within the framework of UNDP Serbia’s Support to Sustainable Transport in the City of Belgrade project.

Support to Sustainable Transport in the City of Belgrade is a project implemented by UNDP Serbia, in close cooperation with the Ministry of Environment, Mining and Spatial Planning, the Belgrade Land Development Agency and City Secretariat for Transport. The project was initiated in 2010, and is set to last until May 2014, and is financed by GEF (Global Environment Facility). The main goal of the project is to reduce greenhouse gases emissions from ground transport in Belgrade by improving public transportation, enhancing cycling, and securing the policy framework for the sustainable development of transport in Belgrade.

Promo leaflet

First Public Open Debate “Let’s Cycle in Belgrade!”
In order to promote the results of the survey that marked the beginning of the public awareness campaign “Let’s Cycle in Belgrade” (and the study produced following this survey), a public open debate was held on April 4, 2012. This debate (first in a series of three) gathered the representatives of various city institutions related to this matter, as well as the citizens interested in cycling and obtaining better conditions for this in Belgrade.

The study itself proved what was stated at the beginning of the project: cycling is still far from widespread in Belgrade, still mainly seen as a recreational activity, but there is a strong sense that much more people would turn to cycling in daily commuting if the conditions for this would improve. As the main obstacles and problems in this, Belgrade citizens identified the lack of bicycle lanes, traffic safety issues for cyclists, and lack of safe parking facilities. However, the idea of introducing public bicycles, or a bike sharing system, as well as connecting the existing bicycle lane network of New Belgrade with the centre of the town was highly favored by the citizens covered by the survey, which is a good direction sign for the city authorities.

Initial research
The first stage of the campaign was organized through a survey of high school pupils, university students and employees of companies based in Belgrade on their habits, needs, possibilities, perceived advantages and potential problems in using bicycle on their daily home-school and home-office commuting. The questionnaires have been created and approved jointly by the UNDP project team and the City of Belgrade’s Secretariat for Transport. The survey was organized in two legs, with the first being undertaken in late 2011 where university students of 10 selected faculties and employees of around 15 large-scale companies, institutions or entities operating mainly on the territory of New Belgrade (this part of the city was chosen due to its existing cycling infrastructure and the potential for cycling to be more widely used in everyday commuting) have been directly contacted by surveyors, and the questionnaires have been filed and ready to be analyzed. The second leg of the survey, targeting high school pupils was organized at the beginning of the second school term, in early 2012. The findings of this study were publicly presented at a public debate organized on April 4, 2012.

The Survey found that:

  • 6-8% of students and employees use non-motorized means of transport;
  • 15% of students (age 14 – 27) use bicycles to commute daily;
  • 78% of students ride a bicycle;
  • 54% of the students and employees consider environmental protection and the reduction of greenhouse gases emissions as the principal benefits of cycling;
  • Cycling is the dominant recreational activity among secondary school students;