Sustainable development is a hot topic in Serbia at the moment. Despite this Belgrade has inefficient transport and does not protect the environment. We consider that it is our obligation to raise awareness of some very important issues in this field
Sustainable development, although not something new in the world, has been a very contemporary concept in Serbia in recent years. According to Belgrade’s city department of transportation, Belgrade is almost at the bottom of the list for European cities in transport efficiency and environmental protection. It is very popular and socially justified to drive cars, even for short distances. It is even a means of financial proof: if you drive, you have the money for a car and fuel! Walking and cycling, as affordable and efficient means of transportation, are not part of the social tradition or social awareness.
The bicycle route ‘Euro Velo 6’ passes by our school, but cyclists do not even have elementary safety conditions, because they share the road with motor vehicles. In Serbia, the bicycle is primarily a means of recreation, and not a means of transport, so drivers of motor vehicles do not consider cyclists as equal participants in traffic. Also, there are few places to park bicycles.
Back in September 2013 we discussed this issues in traffic safety and practical training classes, and came to the conclusion that we could change general attitudes to cycling and the cyclist’s safety in traffic on our streets. Our choice was education among peers, namely presenting a solution to problem to primary school students. We chose 10 schools in Zemun and Surčin, two municipalities in Belgrade with the best geographical conditions for cycling.
We made a team consisting of second, third and fourth grade students in our school, with the educational profiles: Traffic Safety Technician, Road Traffic Technician and The Professional Driver, and some teachers who thought up the ‘Bike I Love You: Green Transport’ project. We then designed a campaign plan.
The initiative was structured as follows:
1. Statistical count and questionnaire (8 October 2013) to analyse the state of mind and participation of different road users, their attitude to cyclists, and the attitudes of all road users to cycling. These studies were conducted in 13 spots in Zemun and Surčin municipalities by 150 student volunteers from our school, in practical training classes.
2. The results of this research as well as the theme of our campaign was presented to the general public at the ‘Safety in the Local Community in Zajecar’ conference on 16‒18 April 2014, and caused great interest and praise. As another part of the project we participated in the ‘green fest’, presenting the project and a film we had shot on mobile phone called ‘Cycling in the Municipality of Surčin’. The film was shortlisted for a competition prize, but unfortunately did not win.
3. At the same time we were working to promote our ideas, and students sang and talked on YouTube about cycling in Zemun and Surčin. We created a Facebook page titled ‘Biciklo love you green’, where we promoted a healthy lifestyle and cycling, and published our activities. Numerous friends joined the Facebook page, and this together with their contributions to the profile pages made us very proud. The teachers also presented the project to the Belgrade Chamber of Commerce (business base) and the traffic safety agency, the traffic police in Belgrade, municipal authorities including Zemun and Surčin, etc.
On 1 March 2014 we presented our work in an Education Fair at Belgrade’s municipality of Cukarica.
We managed, despite a lack of money, to create bicycle parking in front of our school, where students, employees and visitors can park their bikes. We made the parking out of old school desks.
We first performed our show in our school on 16 April 2014, with the support of guests from the traffic safety agency, traffic safety directorate of the traffic police, the association of Cyclo World Serbia and ‘Streets For Cyclists’.
We also performed our show in Zemun Square. As we managed to impress state and city media we were invited to present our ideas on Radio Antena, Radio Naxi Radio Belgrade 202. Our teacher Biljana Kordic went along with students Martina Vladanovic and Dragana Rasevic.
Serbian National Television RTS broadcast coverage of our project in their news bulletin on 22 April 2014.
Marketing Agency ‘Masel’ arranged to screen a short animated film on monitors in all equipped city buses for free. The film was created by our student Luka Bogicevic.
Events in Primary schools and on city squares include:
• Our performance
o Distributing promo material named ‘Safely on two wheels’, donated by the traffic safety agency
o Giving awards to primary school winners for literary creativity and the arts on the cycling theme
o Cycling safety session conducted by Slobodan Radujko from traffic police administration
o Making the bicycle popular with the help of the ‘Streets for Cyclists’ society and our Dutch friend Ralph van Zajdena, who lives and works in Belgrade.
Up to now our campaign dates have been:
• 16 April 2014, Traffic-Technical School in Zemun (our school)
• 27 April 2014, Zemun Square
• 29 April 2014, ‘Bosko Palkovljevic-Pinki’ primary school in Zemun
• 30 April 2014, ‘Gornja Varos’ primary school in Zemun
• 7 May 2014, ‘Petar Kocic’ primary school in Zemun
• 8 May 2014, ’Rade Koncar’ primary school
Next we will continue in:
• 21 May 2014, ‘22 Oktobar’ primary school in Surcin
• 22 May 2014, ‘Vuk Karadzic’ primary school in Surcin
• 23 May 2014, ‘Stevan Sremac’ primary school in Dobanovci village
• 25 May 2014, Surcin Square
• 4 June 2014, ‘Lazar Savatic’ primary school in Zemun
• 5 June 2014, ‘Majka Jugovic’ primary school
• 6 June 2014, ‘Svetozar Miletic’ primary school
The whole project involved more than 200 students in our school. The traffic counters, interviewers, those who helped organise actions in our school, recyclers of old school desks and performers who contributed the most are:
1. Jovana Gavrilović (16-years-old)
2. Marina Tadić (16-years-old)
3. Martina Vladanović (16-years-old)
4. Rašević Dragana (16-years-old)
5. Mihajlo Radenković (16-years-old)
6. Vukašin Sekulić (16-years-old)
7. David Brajić (16-years-old)
8. Valentina Veselinović (16-years-old)
9. Marija Mandić (16-years-old)
10. Kristina Živanić (16-years-old)
11. Jovan Šuša (16-years-old)
12. Slobodan Stefanović (16-years-old)
13. .Živko Petrović (16-years-old)
14. Mišić Miloš (18-years-old), technics
15. Luka Bogićević, (17-years-old) technics
16. Biljana Kordić, teacher
17. Dejan Milanović, teacher
18. Tanja Arsić, teacher
19. Mira Rosić, teacher
20. Tatjana Matijaš, teacher