Bikelab İstanbul, an initiative to safely integrate bikes into Istanbul's commute alternatives, has been launched today with a series of workshops. EMBARQ Turkey, YARD 9 and Royal Dutch Consulate to Istanbul listed among supporters of the initiative that will work for a solution until 2014.
"We're aiming to make biking safer in Istanbul and integrate it as an alternative way of commute. We will encourage public discussions on the matter and hopefully establish a pilot zone for bike traffic," EMBARQ Turkey Director Arzu Tekir said.
The workshop hosted several speakers including Onno Kervers (Dutch Consul to Istanbul), Ali Doğan Şalva (EMBARQ Turkey), Gerbrand Wiepko Bas (YARD 9), Anton Lambertus Bosch (Dutch Cycling Embassy), Murat Suyabatmaz (Biking Association) and Kevser Ser (A life with Bikes Foundation).
Some of the highlights from the panel included:
* Unlike the Netherlands, Turkey is dangerous country for biking. Infrastructural issues prevent people from using bikes as a means of commute.
* Building bike lanes fundamentally encourages biking culture to develop.
* Bikers in Istanbul suffer most from inattentive drivers, lack of public bike lockers and common mentality toward that biking is not a way of commute.
* Some of the benefits of biking in Istanbul include: Fewer traffic accidents, less noise and air pollution, easier access for health care practitioners and rescue teams.
* Panelist recommended creation of special bike lanes, biking teaching zones and equipment for carrying bikes in public transport vehicles. (BK/HK)