In more than 50 cities at the beginning of May, the May Challenge „To Work by Bike, on Foot, or by Jogging“ has started. Its participants travel to work or school throughout the month using non-motorized means, i.e. walking, cycling, scootering, or using another „self-propelled“ method. Minister for Transport, Martin Kupka (ODS), attended the opening ceremony on Tuesday.
The nationwide event, organized by the AutoMat association, aims to motivate the public to use sustainable transportation and improve conditions for cyclists and pedestrians in cities.
This year’s challenge also took place for one week in January, and another one is scheduled for September. Last year, 24,700 people participated in the May event, and this year, there could be more participants. „The number of people using a bike as a means of transportation has increased in recent years. The number of participants in our challenge, which many companies use as a healthy and fun team-building opportunity, is also growing, and it is also an opportunity to improve facilities for bike storage,“ says Dominika Lenthárová, the coordinator of the May Challenge for the AutoMat association. „But also individuals who want to start using active transportation or experienced cyclists who want to emphasize the importance of bikes and walking for the urban environment are registering,“ she adds. At this point, 25,200 participants have registered for the challenge, and registration has been extended until May 7.
According to the organizers, the aim of the challenge is to draw attention to the unbearable car traffic in cities. Registered individuals, companies, families, and groups of friends should record their trips in the system. The regularity of participants‘ sustainable trips will be evaluated because, according to the association, regularity of sustainable trips is essential for physical and mental health and for the environment.
The month-long challenge „Cycle to Work“ was launched on the first working day of May by the Minister of Transport, Martin Kupka, together with AutoMat. This happened at a shared breakfast, which was traditionally prepared by the AutoMat association for participants in the challenge (not only from the Ministry of Transport).
„We develop cycling environment in terms of transportation strategies, and the planning, preparation, and financing of safe infrastructure, for which approximately 5.5 billion crowns were allocated from the SFDI budget over the last twenty years. Our role also includes campaigns aimed at improving safety and increasing consideration on the roads,“ said the Transport Minister at the launch.
Mutual respect on the roads is encouraged by the project „Respect for Others“, organized by BESIP. „In collaboration with cyclist Roman Kreuziger’s initiative, we appeal to everyone to empathize with the perspective of other road users and to perceive the traffic situation through their eyes. For example, a driver should reduce their speed sufficiently in a village and carefully observe the movement of cyclists at intersections. Cyclists, on the other hand, should have their bicycles equipped with reflectors or reflective elements and always have a light on both the front and back during reduced visibility. This year’s road show campaigns focus precisely on these practical issues, knowledge of rules, and traffic signs,“ said Tomáš Neřold, the head of the BESIP department at the Ministry of Transport.
„The purpose of the May challenge is not to break records but to help reflect on our own transportation stereotypes and try something different for at least a month. Feedback from participants indicates that even after the event ends, most of them continue to engage in active transportation to a greater or lesser extent,“ adds Dominika Lenthárová on behalf of the AutoMat association.