Auto*mat. Our weapon - creative approach
Czech movie "Auto*mat" on theme of bicycle infrastructure and reduction of automobiles in the city took place on the 2nd of December. Falanster and ABF suggest to consider example of Czech activity and to think about the possibility of using such acts here.
Interested in bicycle movement met in the area of ABF organization. While one projector got in trouble, and refused to work with one laptop, and the second required update, the participants were meeting and drinking tea. This overall made meeting more informal. Many people have met on theme events more than once, since they are activists of promotion bicycle in the city.
Finally hardware had started. Youth organization Falanster and ABF for active youth, who has gathered people for the showing, present their goals and activity.
Documentary film with subtitles. A lot of acts and performances, revealing to the dwellers of Prague, that there are too many cars, which are polluting the air and ruin the city aesthetics. Auto*mat movement started in 2003 with small group of cyclists, who made run on the streets, blocking automobile traffic, causing arrests and controversy with the traffic police. Yet over a period of 5 years movement managed to became large-scaled, to broaden bicycle lane system and arrange days without the car, blocking the streets of Prague.
The discussion after the movie emphasized on road regulations and on the bicycle lanes condition in the city. Yauhen Kharuzhy the chairman of the Minsk bicycle community was expert to speak. He told about the coming rules of road changes. So far the process of the alteration of the rules is not transparent, which by the view of the Falanster activists is not effective method of development of the bicycle movement.
The participants put examples of their experience, reveal the roles of cyclists, pedestrians, motorists. They conclude, that cyclist is the most unprotected member of the traffic. There is also a lack of understanding between two groups, which should be minimized through сommunication and the development of common culture and people.
The main question of the evening was: "Is a bicycle a political act?" It attracted discussion and silence at the same time. Somebody thinks that a bicycle is only a mechanism for riding and having a rest, somebody consider a bicycle as an instrument of supporting rights of bicyclists and riding a bike is a way of showing personal point of view. There was an opinion that government makes bicycle and riding process political acts. There is no the "right" answer to this question. Anyway, as long as riding bike develops in the city, changes in infrastructure come. Everybody can add his or her opinion to changes of the road's rules.
Finally, Falanster spread "Bicycle helper" manual as a virus and offer the visitors to spread leaflet to their friends and friends of their friends.
Film Screening is an open discussion of solutions for cyclists' problems, which can be accepted on the law level. This is one more step towards changes!
*AFB for active youth of Belarus is a common belarusian-sweden project, that was created for gathering youth with informal educational clubs.