An informed citizen cannot be manipulated. In the last 2 years OPTAR has informed their supporters about the illegal bike lanes and about the fierceness with which the culprits are protected by the state institutions. In contempt for citizens, the Street Administration from Bucharest, the institution guilty of the waste of tens of millions of euros, has announced these last days that “nothing will change this year”. Is that the end of it?
OPTAR thinks that the evidence presented below will enlighten the citizens about the corrupt system that ‘makes the law’ in Bucharest.
Apr 21st 2011 – (rom) (eng) OPTAR requests from the Bucharest Street Administration information about the bike lanes. On may 13th 2011, the institution sends back just a part of the solicited information.
June 8th and June 27th 2011 – (rom) OPTAR requests from the Bucharest Road Brigade the first notices freed for materializing the lanes. The first notice is made related to some of the irregularities found. The answer arrived on July 1st 2011.
June 12th 2011 – (rom) (eng) OPTAR analyzes the 10 lanes for bicycles which the Street Administration said they received. The filming would be the basis for the next petitions addressed to the Police and to the City Hall. It acknowledged the missing lane for bicycles from Calea Vacaresti, lane which was received by the Street Administration. (video)
July 6th 2011 – OPTAR solicits to the Road Brigade the notices issued for the 10 bike lanes which the Street Administration would have received by May 13, 2011. Most of them are transmitted to us on August 1st, 2011.
August 25th 2011 – OPTAR requests to the Road Brigade the dissolution of the dangerous bike lanes.
August 31st 2011 – (rom) OPTAR is invited at the headquarters of the Road Brigade. From the discussions we found out that there is at least one policeman who thinks that in the Road Code there are provisions which imply that the lines are traced exclusively in the sideways. At the same time we acknowledged the fact that the Police does not have the means to control the viability of the bike lanes. The policeman who checked our complaints went by car, while the bike lanes in Bucharest are exclusively on the sideways.
September 22nd 2011 – (rom) OPTAR presents to the Technical Commission for Circulation of the City Hall of the Municipality of Bucharest an “Analysis of the bike lanes”. The Street Administration and the Road Brigade had representatives in the commission.
September 27th 2011 – (rom) (eng) The Road Brigade formulates the answer to OPTAR’s petitions related to the dissolution of the dangerous lanes. For the first time it is confirmed that the Street Administration of Bucharest has received and illegally paid the lanes.
September 30th 2011 – OPTAR asks for information about the lanes received by the Street Administration. The purpose of the request is to verify if there were more lanes received besides the 10 lanes communicated in May. We then tell for the first time the story of the 10 abandoned bicycles from the yard of the Street Administration.
October 10th 2011 – OPTAR sends a notice to the Prefecture which basically does what OPTAR had already done: sends the petition to the police and to the Street Administration. The Street Administration has not answered to the petition.
October 11th 2011 – OPTAR meets with the representatives of the Street Administration. We notice that the representative from the Technical Commission of Circulation from the City Hall Bucharest did not know that the mopeds are required to circulate on the lanes. Actually, the queries of Mrs counselor were at the basis of the launch of a photography competition: Pedestrians in action ! Being a very difficult theme, no artist could illustrate the vision of the Street Administration.( By marking the lanes on the sidewalk, , the Police and the Cuy Hall obligated the mopeds to circulate on the sidewalks among the pedestrians.)
October 19th 2011 – The Street Administration, playing the role of an institution that aims to be transparent, sends to OPTAR information with the purpose of manipulating:
– Thereby, although a list with the received routes, we are sent back a list with the executed lanes.
– Although in May we were talking about 10 finished and received lanes, now there were mentioned about 39 routes finalized.
– Although on May 13th 2011 a list with road arteries where „the work planning for bicycle lanes is under construction” is given, on October 19th 2011 it is said that those lanes were done in 2010 !!!
October 27th 2011 – To one of our requests from October 14th, we find out that after finding the deficiencies, the Road Brigade did not apply contraventional sanctions.
October 31st 2011 – A consequence of the mistakes in marking the bike lanes, more and more drivers have the sensation that the bikers are obliged to ride on the sidewalks. We find out that even the local transport company thinks this. The citizens address OPTAR in concern to an answer from RATB to a petition. What is very serious is the fact that RATB is encouraging the aggressive behaviour of their drivers, finding justifications for their deeds.
November 17 2011 – Because we found out that RATB “is encouraging using the bicycle as an alternative mean of transportation”, being an active part in the project „CAPITALA CRESTE VERDE”/ THE CAPITAL IS GROWING GREEN, an initiative of the City Hall of the Municipality of Bucharest aimed to promote the ecological means of transport, we have requested from this institution that they put to our disposal, free, advertising space for display on the RATB vehicles. We wanted to start an advertising campaign to encourage the citizens to use more bikes as a mean of transportation. The RATB’s answer was sketched to a list of prices.
While, for example, at its own initiative, the local transportation direction in Brasov tells the people that they should use the bicycle.
November 24th 2011 – OPTAR sends petitions through which talks about the lanes to the General Mayor and the General Council of the Municipality of Bucharest. After the papers travelled between different directions in the City Hall, the papers are sent to the Street Administration (the culprit institution) to formulate an answer. Until today (nov 6th 2012) there was no answer given to these petitions.
November 30th 2011 – OPTAR sends petition to PMB and CGMB in which it requests that in the project of the parking from the University safe parking places for bikes are foreseen. Until this date we have not received an answer to these petitions. Because the parking was not finalized, we do not know whether the petitions were taken into consideration.
January 4th 2012 – As a reaction to the petition sent to the Prefecture, OPTAR receives an address from the Police General Direction of the Municipality of Bucharest. It is confirmed the Road Code is violated, but no measure is taken for the protection of the life and integrity of the traffic participants.
January 4th 2012 – OPTAR formulates a new request in which solicits from the Street Administration of Bucharest to provide public information about the lanes which they administer after the institution has denied to answer to the request from September 30th 2011.
January 26th 2012 – A new set of notices for the marking of the lines arrives from the Police. It is observed that there are notices issued in 2011 on lanes which the Street Administration says they had done in 2010.
January 27th 2012 – OPTAR requests from the Prefecture to exercise its powers as a guarantor for respecting the law. The appeal is to identify the guilty persons.
February 20th 2012 – OPTAR formulates an administrative notice through which requests from the Street Administration an answer to the notice submitted on January 4th 2012. This time again the Street Administration of Bucharest refuses to provide the public information. Faced with this OPTAR sues ASB. The first hearing is established on May 9th.
February 2012 – At the initiative of Matei Budes, 6 bikers meet to discuss about a possible collaboration in solving the problems of the cyclists. OPTAR was present in this meeting. The number of participants is increasing weekly.
In april 2012, The Bikers’ Community of Bucharest, a new bikers’ platform, makes their intention known:
“The Bikers’ Community of Bucharest is advocating for the development of policies and an infrastructure to encourage the urban mobility, by applying European norms in the field, with the purpose of improving the quality of life.”
February 28th 2012 – OPTAR brings to the citizens’ attention the document “The National Strategy for Road Safety 2011 – 2020″. We find that the state institutions ignore the strategy.
We address to the Interministerial Council for the Road Safety with the wish to be allowed to take part in the meetings. Until today we have not received any invitation to any meeting of the ICRS.
March 26th 2012 – The Mayor Oprescu Sorin takes part in a TV show. The citizens address questions to the guest about the situation of the illegal bike lanes in Bucharest and about the recovery of the damage.
When will the law be respected in the case of the bike lanes?
When will you recover the money from those that have received the lanes without being according with the legal notices and norms?
When were the 130 km bike lane received if the police confirmed 7 months ago that the first 40 km do not respect the law?
When will you give back the sidewalks to the pedestrians?
How many people must die so we can walk safely on the sidewalk?
The questions addressed are found in the CBB film .
March 30th 2012 – We find that, for the first time, the Bucharest Road Brigade imposes respecting the Road Code provisions in the case of 600 metres of dangerous lanes for bikers and pedestrians. The decision of the police came after several months in which the Street Administration of Bucharest refused to apply the law, even as a consequence of the notices from the Bucharest Road Brigade.
The applying of the law was also a result of a material aired by Realitatea TV.
Temporary placed until the entering in legality of the lanes, for the first time the indicators “ access on bicycle forbidden” appear.
April 3rd 2012 – OPTAR considers that disrespect for the law by the Street Administration of Bucharest is also a consequence of the lack of firmness of the police in applying the law. Thus, although in the Road Code harsh penalties are applied to the road administrator who doesn’t ensure the safety of the traffic, the Street Administration in Bucharest was never fined for breaking the law in the case of the bike lanes.
The reason: lack of funds from the public administration.
April 26th 2012 – At the initiative of the Bikers’ Community of Bucharest a meeting between the representatives of NGOs and those of different directions and institutions under PMB and CGMB took place. Considering the european context which conditions obtaining future european financing by the cities of the member states that a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) should be done, there are regular meetings established.
There is no project resulting from the 6 months of meetings.
The only notable result of the work group is that at the city hall they are no longer laughing when one is talking about bicycles.
May 12th 2012 – The Bikers’ Community of Bucharest initiated the artistic manifestation „Drawing with chalk on the sidewalk”. The citizens have their attention drawn to the illegalities tolerated and encouraged by the authorities.
21 mai 2012 – Two days before the hearing, The Street Administration of Bucharest provides OPTAR with the information which they so far hid. The citizens find out this way that in full scandal of the illegal lanes, in September 2011 SAB received 29 more routes.
The documents obtained at the Court are the basis for an OPTAR project which involves citizens in the solving of the illegal bike lanes problems: “Adopt a dangerous lane ! Then… dissolve it !”
June 1st 2012 – Bikers’ Community of Bucharest proposes an approach of participative democracy. OPTAR submits a memorandum to the Minister of Internal Affairs. It reveals the illegalities done by the Street Administration and the Road Brigade in the case of the illegal lanes in Bucharest.
We received no answer to this memorandum.
June 5th 2012 – Bikers Community from Bucharest proposes the organization of a inedit event in Romania: the launching of a highway line for bikers. Called “The Green Kilometer”, the project aimed to bring to the public opinion an important document for the life and health of the citizens: The National Strategy for the Road Safety 2011 – 2020.
July 1st 2012 – At ProCinema the screening of “The film that inflates your bike wheels” takes place. The film is desired to be a guide for those who thought they would like to travel by riding the bicycle. There are also some comparisons presented between how other countries support the alternative transportation and the lack of interest of the Romanian authorities. The film can be watched on-line.
August 9th 2012 – Based on the information from the press, OPTAR compares the price paid for the illegal lanes from Bucharest with a highway from Bulgaria. It is observed that the markings from Bucharest were more expensive than a highway in Bulgaria.
August 16th 2012 – The Road Brigade of Bucharest orders the dissolution of 8 bike lanes. The documenting of the illegalities on the 8 bike trail routes dissolved was done voluntarily by the citizens involved in the project ‘ Adopt a dangerous lane! Then.. dissolve it!”
August 19th 2012 – The Bikers’ Community in Bucharest brings again to the attention of the citizens the National Strategy for Traffic Safety 2011 – 2020. According to a survey it is observed that over 81% of the drivers from Bucharest prefer that riding the bike and/ or the public transportation is encouraged and car transportation discouraged.
August 21st 2012 – OPTAR is preparing to take part in a meeting of the program VOCA (Volunteers of Cycling Academy). The invitation was launched by MaiMultVerde Association through Cicloteque. During the preparation of the presentation we observe that in the 1970 the bikers had more rights than they have in 2012. By discouraging the bike riding the problems connected to auto traffic have raised.
September 19th 2012 – OPTAR is making a comparison between Bucharest and Copenhagen. While in Bucharest the auto traffic is encouraged, in Copenhagen the bike riding is encouraged. From here the enormous differences between the two capital cities. While Bucharest was declared the most polluted city in Europe, Copenhagen was declared in 2007 the capital of the happiest people in Europe. And in the competition for choosing the European Green Capital for 2004 Copenhagen was designated the winner.
October 2nd 2012 – OPTAR makes their projects in the agenda known. The support from the companies to donate 20% of their taxes on profit is requested. In a limit of 0,3 % of the turnover the sum offered as a sponsorship is deductible.
Until now, no firm has answered his request.
October 4th 2012 – OPTAR informs the Technical Commission for Circulation from the City Hall of the Bucharest Municipality about the faulty way in which the illegal bike lanes were dissolved. Installing the signs to prohibit access were supposed to address only the illegal lanes. But from interpreting the indicators one understands that you are no longer allowed to pedal on those streets. The Police representative confirms that the Road Brigade did not give notice to the Street Administration for the prohibition of the bikers on the streets where the lanes were dissolved.
October 8th 2012 – The lack of involvement from PMB or CGMB in identifying the culprits for the receiving and the illegal payment of the lanes in Bucharest, OPTAR notified the Court of Auditors. To be mentioned that the illegalities have already been found by the police. The Court of Auditors should also request the document of reception of the lanes where the name of the culprits is written. Through signing the reception of the lanes the payment of illegal and unexecuted works was practically approved. Also the Court of Auditors must identify the value of the prejudice and to start the operations of recovering the damage. In case it will be seen that the managers of the culprits knew about the prejudices and did not impute the damage in due time, these damages can be recovered from them.
OPTAR requested the reception document for the lanes but PMB, CGMB and ASB have refused to make available this public information. Also, the 3 institutions have refused to answer to a question addressed by OPTAR: have the procedures to recover the wasted funds from the culprits begin?
October 11th 2012 – After the campaign “Adopt a dangerous lane! Then… dissolve it !”12 notices were addressed to the PMB, CGMB, Bucharest Road Brigade and The Street Administration of Bucharest. The only institution to answer these petitions was the Road Brigade Bucharest which communicated to us that for all the routes notified the citizens were right: the lanes are illegal. On October 11th, summing up the total of the lanes declared as illegal in 2011 with those dissolved in 2012 it was found that the Bucharest Street Brigade has received and illegally paid over 100 km of bike lanes!
October 27th 2012 – The citizens get out in the street at the biggest bikers’ march from Bucharest.
October 29th – 31st 2012 – 10 petitions are submitted by the participants at the march in October 27th.
November 1st 2012 – The first fine is applied to a biker because of the incorrect setting of the indicators to forbid the access for the bikers on the discontinued bike lanes (but extended to the nearby street by faulty positioning).
November 5th 2012 – In the opinion of the European Commission representatives it is worrying that in an European capital the cycling is discouraged. This is why the European Bikers’ Federation (http://www.ecf.com/) was asked to offer more details about the situation in Bucharest.
The concern of the european commissioners comes after the information which appeared in the press about the improper installation of the indicators ‘forbidden access for bicycles” without the existence of the additional panel which would explain that the indicator refers only to illegal lanes.
The details were offered to us by Radu Mititean, the president of the Romanian Bikers’ Federation. RBF is a member of the European Bikers’ Federation.
This page will permanently be updated until the law will be applied in the case of illegal lanes in Bucharest and until the guilty ones will be pressed charges. Because the wasted money belong to all of us and because the law foresees procedures for the recovery of the waste, it is important for the citizens to know the presented information.
Please let all your friends know about these steps and together to find out the characters involved in the illegalities that affect us.
Here are the lists with the illegal bike lanes which no longer exist as dissolved in Bucharest:
Marian Ivan – founding member of OPTAR
If you live in Bucharest and you want to do advocacy for the rights of the bikers and of the pedestrians banished from the sidewalk, you can sign up in the Facebook group.
If you do not live in Bucharest but you would like to support the steps of the bikers and of the pedestrians from Bucharest, you can join on the Facebook page.
No matter where you live, if you support our work, you can sign in as a sympathizing member of OPTAR. It doesn’t take longer than a minute!
You can find out more about the accomplishments of our association or of our partners if you join the Facebook page of OPTAR.