Italy’s Prime Minister has backed Italy’s bicycle advocates, demanding improved conditions for cyclists.
Tens of thousands Italians inspired by ‘Salvaiciclisti’ gathered in Rome last month demanding better conditions for cyclists. And now, the campaign has a new ally: Mario Monti, the Italian Prime Minister.
In a letter to campaigners on Monday, Monti wants to “improve the conditions of those who use the bicycle to move around in the city”.
And he’s right. Italy can do better. Some cities such Ferrara already have 27% of trips done by bike while other places like Rome are famous for clogged streets and dangerous roads. It’s just a matter of the right infrastructure, funding and political courage.
Italy’s National bicycle association Fiab has translated the letter below for ECF.
2012 is shaping up to be the year of the bicycle for Italy.
“Before becoming Prime Minister I have been a passionate cyclist and a cycle tourist myself.
Even if I don’t have the opportunity now as in the past to cycle as I would like to, I know all the problems that those using the bicycle are confronted with, especially in big cities.
The bicycle is an “intelligent” means of transport, both from the point of you of its environmental impact and on the economic level since it greatly reduces the costs of urban mobility, and last but not least for people’s health.
As already done in Europe with the financing of several projects connected with cycle paths, in Italy too it’s necessary to give more attention to “soft mobility”. In this sense the government is engaged in favouring policies of sustainable mobility also with the objective of reducing road accidents which involve cyclists.
I’m aware that a lot still needs to be done. I encourage you to go on with your campaign and I’m tempted to say to go on cycling in order to draw the attention to what can be done at all levels to improve the conditions of those who use the bicycle to move around in the city”
Mario Monti, Presidente del Consiglio dei Ministri della Repubblica Italiana
Julian Ferguson is the Communications Officer for the European Cyclists’ Federation. Originally hailing from Australia and a keen bicycle advocate, he plans one day to ride his bicycle from Brussels to Melbourne