Cycle Competence members Bike Citizens and komobile support citizen participation in Brussels and in Vienna’s eighths district Josefstadt – in quite different ways: Bike Citizens has co-developed the campaign “PING if you care!”. It allows cyclists in Brussels to report problem sites digitally. In Vienna’s Josefstadt komobile heads the participation process Lokale Agenda 21. Its cycling group has developed a cycling map for the district and can celebrate first political successes.
PING if you care! Brussels cyclists mark unsafe areas with a click
Together with Mobiel 21, the Flamish association for sustainable mobility, Cycle Competence member Bike Citizens initiated the campaign “PING if you care!” on 31 May 2017 in Brussels. The “PING button” plays a key role to point out critical situations while cycling.
The “PING Button” developed by Bike Citizens and Mobiel 21 is around 4cm wide and can be attached to the handle bar or a piece of clothing. Equipped with GPS it communicates with the Bike Citizens App via Bluetooth. Cyclists participating in the campaign can report points on roads via the PING Button which are then automatically marked on a digital online map in the app. A brief introduction explains to participants in which situations triggering the button makes sense: A pothole on the cycle path, a road sign concealed by branches or a crossing in which the right of way is being ignored, etc. The wide range of possible reports not only includes infrastructural deficiencies but also situations in which cyclists feel unsafe or have conflicts with other road users. Cyclists can categorise and comment the points that were registered right away or later at home via smartphone and Bike Citizens app. Heatmaps provide a visualisation in which the reported “PINGs” and the routes taken are marked in colour. Since the start of the campaign already more than 7000 “PINGs” have been uploaded and 5000 have been commented on.
The campaign is financed in full by the Cabinet DeBaets (Brussels Region) of the city of Brussels and will run until November 2017.
The direct line to the city administration
The combination of “PING Button” and Bike Citizens app allows a direct and transparent communication with the city. Everyday road traffic situations, needs and emotional impressions become visible. The findings from the campaign eventually result in recommendations for action to be taken by the city to improve cycle traffic.
The feedback from Brussels is very positive. Bike Citizens has already received requests from cities and organisations that want to bring “PING if you care!” to their region. The Graz-based company welcomes further request. An implementation in other cities is planned.
Continued commitment to cycling: Komobile accompanies Agenda 21 process in Josefstadt
Since 2015 the Cycle Competence member komobile Vienna has headed the Agenda 21 process in Josefstadt. The group within the Agenda advocating cycling in the eighths district of Vienna, has been active for over two years to promote a more cycle-friendly co-existence on the roads. One of the products by the cycling group is a cycle map for Josefstadt.
The map describes the cycling infrastructure and the location of interesting infrastructure like City Bike stations, bike parking, drinking fountains or air pumps.
Advocates for cycling
The cycle map also describes further action the group is taking. With the help of Agenda Josefstadt the group is particularly promoting the improvement of cycling infrastructure in the district. Proposals by active cyclists are discussed on a district administration level and relevant magistrate departments which also leads to implementations. The opening of the one-way street Florianigasse for cyclists is one of be biggest projects the cycling group has promoted. In the meantime the city administration has already okayed (protocol in German) opening the one-way road for cyclists in both directions.
Further information (in German) on the cycling group of the agenda Josefstadt can be found here.
Co-designing pays off
Having a say and especially active participation is paying off. Cyclists themselves are the everyday experts for cycle traffic! Their experiences and opinions provide important input, districts as well as cities are profiting from listening to these recommendations – in Josefstadt as well as in Brussels.
Fotos: Bike Citizens, Agenda Josefstadt