EIT Urban Mobility: championing active mobility and citizen engagement in Portugal

Active mobility is crucial for promoting health and physical activity across all age groups. However, its importance is often downplayed or disregarded in urban and transportation planning. Events like KidicalMass, organised in many cities worldwide, and Bicicletada pelo Tejo, in Lisbon, are two clear examples of events aimed at promoting active mobility and reshaping people’s mobility habits. Committed to our mission of promoting sustainable cities and improving citizens’ lives, EIT Urban Mobility collaborated with both events celebrated last May 2024 in Portugal.

Bicicletada Pelo Tejo: Cycling for a Greener Future

In early June, the European Climate Pact, supported by EIT Urban Mobility, Ecomood Portugal, Unfuel, and Happy Trails, sent a letter to the Lisbon Metropolitan Area urging the city to prioritise the integration of cycling and group sports into its mobility strategy. The document was drawn up as part of the ‘Bicicletada pelo Tejo’ to draw attention to the importance of mobility and intermodal integration through non-motorised means, promoting walking, cycling and scootering, as well as different ways of integrating them into everyday life in a fun and effective way, emphasising the early celebration of World Bicycle Day.

 

Bicicletada Pelo Tejo invites citizens to pedal along the scenic Tejo River. This event is not just a celebration of cycling but a powerful statement about the importance of sustainable urban mobility. By transforming the Tejo riverside into a bike-friendly space, participants can experience firsthand how cycling can be integrated into daily life. The event promotes environmental awareness, community engagement and healthy living.

The “Bicicletada pelo Tejo” started from Belém River Station and followed the Trancão cycle bridge, the Esteiro do Ferral, and the São João da Talha Eco Park. Participants engaged in various environmental activities such as cleaning up litter in the river and creating Trash Art. Additionally, there was a talk and debate on “Cycle Mobility in an Urban Context” organised by the Zero association, focused on the importance of safety conditions on cycle paths to promote regular cycling in Lisbon and encourage new cyclists to join.

KidicalMass in Guimarães: a safe space for young cyclists

KidicalMass, held in the historic city of Guimarães, focuses on children and families, promoting the idea that urban mobility should be safe and accessible for everyone, especially the youngest citizens. The event aims to instil a lifelong appreciation for active mobility, boost community building and safety education, and give children the confidence to navigate urban spaces on their bicycles by providing a secure and enjoyable environment for kids to cycle.

   

At 10 a.m., 100 participants, including adults and children, departed from Alameda de S. Dâmaso to raise awareness about the importance of recognising regular bicycle use as urban transportation. This event occurred in Guimarães, adding the city to a list of national locations participating in KidicalMass, an international movement in 16 countries. The movement aims to advocate for active transportation for children and adults in their daily journeys by improving cycling infrastructure and promoting safer streets, particularly in school areas.

EIT Urban Mobility’s commitment

As cities worldwide grapple with urbanisation’s challenges, initiatives like Bicicletada Pelo Tejo and KidicalMass offer a glimpse into a future where public spaces are designed for people, not just vehicles. By endorsing these kinds of events, EIT Urban Mobility seeks to motivate communities to reconsider their transportation options and adopt sustainable, active forms of transport. These events are not just enjoyable moments but part of a larger strategy to develop resilient, inclusive, and lively urban environments.

“We know that in Europe, a significant proportion of car journeys – half of all journeys under 5km and more than 30 per cent under 3km – could easily be made by bike, on foot or a combination of both. We remain committed to making cities more liveable and creating safe spaces for citizens and, by promoting cycling, we advocate a more equitable transport system that benefits everyone”. María Paula Caycedo, Head of EIT Urban Mobility Innovation Hub South.