The example of Karditsa

Nearly two years after the main bicycle lane network was completed, about 60 percent of daily journeys within the town of Karditsa are made by bicycle or on foot. No one blinks any more at the sight of a well-dressed person pedaling off to a business interview. Here, it’s not just the kids who like to ride their bikes. More than 50 percent of those using bicycles are over age 50. The incentive to adopt cycling has led to a renovation of the town, particularly its business center, and has facilitated movement. A survey by the National Technical University of Athens showed that the people of Karditsa have become more mobile as a result. Every inhabitant makes an average of seven journeys a day. In Athens each person makes just three journeys a day. «We made the bicycle lanes by broadening sidewalks by 2 meters,» said Mayor Christos Tegos. «We used the space formerly taken up by parked cars and gave them over to the bicycles. Today, cyclists and pedestrians have given the town a different air.» The project in Karditsa – as well as the subsequent ones in Larissa and Mesolongi – cost 750,000 euros. The funds came from the Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works Ministry and the Transport Ministry.