The objective of the one-day event under the name “Biciklom na špicu”, which can be roughly translated to English as “use your bike instead of your car when coming to the city on Saturday morning to drink coffee with us, your family and friends”, was not only to promote healthy lifestyle and the use of bicycles and electric vehicles, but also to raise awareness on the importance of using the alternative ways of transportation in our city. The number of people directly and indirectly reached surpassed 30,000, which is an enormous number for a small city on the Croatian coastline and it shows the need for similar activities and events the local and regional level at the same time.
“Biciklom na špicu” was a one-day event that took place in April 2017 in Zadar. Among around 300 citizens who participated in the activities that day, there were several participants who carried out certain activities: Zadar Police Department (MUP), Students from the Vocational School Vice Vlatkovića, Nextbike public bike-sharing company, Calimero bike shop, and Association Eko Zadar.
The event was financed through the project “CitiZEN – Sustainable Mobility for Citizens in Europe”.
Many people came with their bicycles to the city centre, which can be seen on the photos provided, and as a result, they were rewarded with promotional items we provided for the event – reflective vests and bracelets, bicycle bells, free coffee coupons, draw-on-bags and balloons for children. Our event hit the headlines of the news portals and local media websites that day because of the innovative and motivational approach towards citizens of Zadar. A majority of people were happy and satisfied with what was being promoted, and the minority of people who thought it was a waste of time and money, changed their mind after we explained how shifting from cars to bicycles would affect our city.
Athough we do not have any concrete figures such as CO2 emission avoided or number of jobs created, we believe that the CitiZEN project introduced a completely new aspect and approach to sustainable mobility in Zadar. People’s attitudes slightly changed – even though we still have a number of cars and motorcycles on the roads, we do have a greater number of bicycles than before, some of which wear little “Biciklom na špicu” stickers that we provided on their bike bells. Whenever we see it, we feel proud that the project made a change, no matter how little it was. Only with the step by step approach can and will the city move forward and towards sustainable mobility in its best.
We believe that it is of utmost importance to motivate people in some way. Once you create an environment or an activity that they identify themselves with and that is known by the majority, only then will your activity be successful. Cycling is common among cyclists. Car sharing concept is common among those who live it day by day. But in order to reach the overall audience, you need to find something that is common to all of them. Coffee and bicycles turned out to be the winning combination for Zadar. Best of luck to everyone finding their own winning combinations!