Extract from the interview with Mayor Bokor Tibor in Kézdi/Târgu Secuiesc, Romania on 27 May 2016
Kloss: How do you get people on bikes in Kézdi?
Bokor: We have built 2km of bicycle paths. We start now a project for 6km bicycle paths. Our city is unfortunately a small city and there are very narrow streets, so it is very difficult to build bicycle paths.
Kloss: Well it depends whom you give the priority, European town centres were actually never built for cars. Most distances covered in cities are shorter than 5km, most cars are occupied by only one person, the bicycle is most of the time the fastest means of transport. We understand that the situation is different in smaller cities and very much depending from public transport. It needs a change of mentality among the citizens, the city can and has to create the infrastructure. Beside this we wish there was as much advertisement for cycling as there is for cars.
Bokor: We introduced once parking tickets for three months, and then cars didn’t come anymore to the centre. Then people came by bike, but unfortunately the parking tickets were stopped.
If I won the election, I will ask the city about the parking fees.
Kloss: Actually it is not so difficult to ban the cars from the city center, what is more difficult is to build bike highways and axis through the whole city. It needs a communication process to explain the people why this is good and necessary.
Bokor: There was another decision concerning the city center. In the 90s we closed the city center for cars, but this lasted only for three months. It was not accepted by the people.
Gruszyk: Focus on the positive thing. The structure of the city is really unique, I have never seen something like this before. Tell the people that they have a really beautiful city, then they will become proud of the city.
Kloss: What is the future of urban mobility in Kézdi?
Bokor: In earlier times, families had maximum one car. Today families have at least two cars. The city center is full of cars, when the children finish school they get a car, everybody wants to go by car. This would be a very spontaneous change when they realize that it is harder to go by car and that it is easier to go by foot or bike. People want to have what they couldn’t have, until they realize the point when it’s too much.
Gruszyk: That’s the point of our campaign, we want to avoid these mistakes and make cities learn from each other’s mistakes and avoid wasting money. You will have to adopt the city to sustainable transport anyway, so why not do it now?
Bokor: There are no fundings from the government for it. We don’t have money for that.
Kloss: But when you renovate roads, you could integrate bicycle paths and more space for pedestrians.
Bokor: We rebuilt two streets in the last years and they have bicycle paths now.
Kloss: I think the best is to give people attractive alternatives. Offer creates demand, streets for cars create more motorized traffic, and bicycle paths encourage people to ride the bike. Everyone can make a difference by oneself. That’s why we ask you, do you like to ride the bike?
Bokor: Of course, also my boys and my wife, but most of the time I go by car because I live in a neighbour village and the way to Kézdi is dangerous by bike.