“In the centre we must and can live together. For example: in Brussels, where 95% of the streets in the old town have a two-way cycle path, only 5% of bicycle accidents happened on those roads. Whereas in Bologna, many people continue to use our roads in two-way system and I don’t think the hospitals are full of victims. If it were dangerous we would have a massacre. Facing on-coming traffic, between cyclist and motorist, only serves and increases security.”
Simona Larghetti, president of Salvaciclisti Bologna, is keen to put the central theme of mobility back on two-wheels and doesn’t consider this a recipe for polarizing attitudes. Rather, she argues experience and data back it up.
Larghetti understands the ‘gut instinct’ of the external observer but is keen to overturn their point of view. “People who face changes are frightened. It’s the human soul,” she underlines, “but I would like to explain that the one-way system ‘except for bikes’ that is being discussed in Parliament concerns only the restricted ’30 zones’. They say 20 years of bi-directional roads in Brussels and 11 years in Reggio Emilia have demonstrated that it presents no problems. As in Belgium with the two-way directional traffic (practically synonymous with the single meaning ‘except for bikes’) accidents have been reduced.” So, Larghetti continues that when people have to ride from one point to another, “if this route can be done without danger for themselves and for others, it does not gives us an impression of danger, instead, it’s supported by accident studies.”
In Bologna, there are already two unique bike directions in Via Petroni and Via del Pratello. Unusual too, is the bi-directional traffic in Moline and Falegnami simply because they are missing the official signs marking these boundaries. Then again there’s double cycle ways in Riva Reno, Lame, and Via Zamboni, again absent the official Highway Code legislation. “These are courageous decisions by the mayor, so we hope the Salvaciclisti association will be asking the Government to approve these norms.” Other Bolognese streets that require looking at Larghetti indicates, “include Via Guerrazzi and Via Galliera. It takes objectivity in judging a norm like the one under discussion now in Parliament without resorting to illegal actions on cyclists’ parts. Indeed, it is the promotion of legality that we are pushing for.”