Critical Mass is a cycling event that takes place often around the world in over 300 cities.
The purpose of these rides is to draw attention to the problems that cyclists and bikers meet in everyday traffic.
In Belgrade, a Critical Mass takes place every last Saturday of the month and it is now about to reach its 60th edition. Currently this event is organized by “Street for cyclist”, a local NGO committed to improve working conditions and increasing the number of cyclists and cyclist traffic in the city of Belgrade, as well as placing a culture of walking and cycling in a dominant or at least an equal position in relation to a car.
Cycling culture isn’t significant in Belgrade, thus the mission of the organization is to promote this kind of transport and to help increase the space in the streets dedicated to social activities, walking, cycling and other healthy and sustainable means of transportation which are preferred in modern cities.
Last event, organized on the March 26th, had the aim to send a strong political message against the government, which for the third year is not investing at all in cycling infrastructures, being only predisposed to help during election campaigns. For instance, cyclists are not able to get from one end of town to another because the bike path on the bridge is closed for three years.
Messages against the city government and the major were sent from the busiest bridge in Belgrade, and some of them were:
“Return us the sidewalk”, “Will you almost?”, “Repair or resignation”…
Cyclists say that they will not give up until someone from the government notice that they exist.
The number of participants in Belgrade’s Critical Mass is increasing every month. Cyclists feel empowered and believe they will get the right to be treated as equal participants in the mobility of the city.
By Tamara Milovanović