Making Georgian roads safer and healthier through safe cycling
The streets of Tbilisi are dominated by cars and other motorised transport. The growing vehicle fleet is choking the city in traffic, congestion, and air pollution. This is unsafe for road users and poses a serious public health risk.
To help counter this trend, EASST partners, the Partnership for Road Safety, are working with young people and students on a new project to promote cycling as a viable means of daily public transport. If more people can be encouraged to cycle, this will have a significant impact on reducing congestion and CO2 emissions in the city – making it safer and healthier for everyone.
Just before Christmas last year, the Partnership for Road Safety organised a very successful ‘cycle march’, where about 100 cyclists dressed in Santa suits drove through the centre of Tbilisi. Building on this momentum, the Partnership for Road Safety are now organising a series of monthly cycle marches in which representatives of Tbilisi City Hall as well as journalists have all taken part.
The aim of these marches is to demonstrate the demand for better cycling infrastructure in the city – as well as raising awareness about cycling as an alternative means of transport. The Partnership for Road Safety are also using the opportunity to raise awareness of safe cycling practices. Before each march, participants are given information and advice on how to stay safe on the road while cycling. Special sessions have also been arranged in schools and universities to promote safe cycling, and to give out reflective headbands, jackets and bicycle stickers to ensure young people stay visible when out on their bikes.
In addition, the Partnership for Road Safety are working very closely with the Transport Department of Tbilisi City Hall to create new cycle lanes across the city to ensure cycling is a safe and sustainable option for more people. Along with representatives from City Hall the Partnership for Road Safety have themselves been cycling the streets of Tbilisi to identify and map where the new cycle lands should be created. They have used the NACTO Global Street Design Guide to evaluate the road infrastructure and have presented recommendations on how the roads may need to be modified to ensure the routes are safe (location of traffic lights, bus stops etc.). Based on this research, proposals have been drawn up and City Hall has already announced the tender for completing the work.
This means that hopefully soon cycling in Tbilisi will be a safer and more popular mode of transport.