An integral part of conferences around the world in recent years is also a field visit. It is a great way of integrating the theoretical perspectives presented and discussed in the conference room with the actual situation on the field. To get the best results of any project, one must go out of the classrooms, offices, and conference rooms, but this can be challenging in the current Covid-19 situation.
In mid-October, we organized a joint conference on Improving Road Safety in Danube Area for all Road Users with the RADAR project and in cooperation with the European Union Strategy for Danube Region (EUSDR). For SABRINA, this was a Kick-off conference of the 30-months project which started in July 2020. Originally, the conference should take place in Vienna, but we all know what happened to those plans. To follow all the regulations and restrictions in the light of the new reality, we organized the online event which went beyond the borders of the Danube area countries and brought together many distinguished speakers and participants that could join us from the comfort and safety of their offices or homes.
We would love to take the participants of the conference for a field visit in Vienna and bike there, especially since according to the Copenhagenize Index, Vienna is the 9th most bicycle-friendly city in the world as of 2019. Well done, Vienna! But if the city wants to climb any higher in the rankings, the research points out significant investments in safe and reliable cycling infrastructure will be needed as well as an understanding that sharing “the lane with buses and taxis is outdated and unrealistic”. Vienna would for sure be a great place to see and experience some good (or best? – check the dilemma in the presentation of Klaus Machata from the conference – from 2:18:14 to 2:25:30 of the conference recording) and not so good examples of cycling infrastructure and its safety. Well, it is what it is, so let us think about how we can adjust and still do a field visit. Yes, virtually! Besides, it will not be just about Vienna. We can visit all nine project partners’ countries, urban and rural areas.
The final video is a team effort of all 11 SABRINA project partners from 9 Danube area countries. We went out there on our bikes to be able to show you good, not so good, and bad examples of cycling infrastructure in our countries. We faced some weather challenges, dealt with flat tires, and experimented with filming equipment. In the end, we managed to collect videos and photos which take you on a bike journey across Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Moldova, and Bulgaria. The video shows a tiny piece of cycling infrastructure from each country. However, you can get a feeling that cycling infrastructure in many Danube area countries, especially outside of the urban areas is still in an early stage of development. Besides, even in places with good examples, there is always room for improvement. In the video, you can also learn how the idea for the SABRINA project was born and what is the main goal of the project.
Enjoy the virtual bike journey through Danube area countries. If you have any photos of good or bad examples of cycling infrastructure from the places where you bike regularly (or you wish you could bike) in your free time or commuting to work, feel free to send them our way or tag us on Facebook or Twitter.
To watch the Virtual Field Visit video, click on the photo above or HERE.