Cyclists raising voice against road accidents killing bikers
Cyclists held simultaneous demonstrations across several cities in Turkey on Oct. 25 in protest against increasing traffic accidents that killed or injured cyclists.
Members of Life on Bicycle Platform gathered in İstanbul’s Kalamış neighborhood to draw attention to the deaths of six cyclists in the last 10 days.
Hundreds of cycling enthusiasts came together in Kalamış Park to conduct a demonstration to say “stop deaths” due to traffic accidents and in an attempt to highlight the seriousness of the issue for which legal regulations are necessary to protect cyclists.
Constructive measures for the protection of the cyclists to drive safely on the roads were discussed at the forum attended by many bicycle associations, and the suggestions from the same will be conveyed to the authorities as well, according to the platform.
Some 258 cyclists have been killed in the last two years in Turkey after being hit by vehicles on the roads and in all of the 258 incidents, the courts found the cyclists “at fault” for their deaths, the platform said in a statement.
“We call on all relevant ministries and institutions to stop these hits and deaths. The number of cyclists who died due to hits in the last month rose to 11,” it said.
The statement called on the government and local authorities to expand regulations about biking and to take steps that will increase public awareness for the bicycle to be regarded as a means of transportation.
“Speed limits should be brought under control and measures should be taken for the bicycle to be accepted as a means of transportation by vehicle drivers. Safety lanes should be allocated for the use of cyclists,” the statement noted.
Meanwhile, demonstrations and protests have been taking place in several provinces, including the capital Ankara, İzmir, Antalya and Kocaeli.
In one of the demonstrations against the traffic accidents, bicycle enthusiasts had cycled from İzmir’s Karşıyaka district to Konak Square in a protest for Zeynep Aslan, a member of the municipality’s cyclist team who died in a crash on Oct. 14.
Cyclists and Aslan’s relatives attended a memorial ceremony held within the scope of the demonstrations.
In Turkey, cyclists face several obstacles to ride in crowded cities due to the limited availability of lanes that could save them from riding on congested roads and against reckless motorists.
To address this problem, several metropolitan municipalities have recently unveiled plans to build more lanes dedicated to bicyclists.
The government had also funded municipalities previously for the construction of a total of 1,150 kilometers of bicycle lanes and a campaign for the same was also launched to increase the length of lanes in 2018.
Under a new regulation that came into force in 2019, it has become mandatory to include bicycle lanes and parking spaces in new zoning plans.