For more than half a decade, I have advised cities in the Nordics and Europe on how to attract talents, investments and become a more sustainable city. The urban environment plays a vital role in that international competition. As an urban strategist, management consultant and entrepreneur, this work of helping cities become more attractive, smart and sustainable has led me to urban cycling.
When people cycle in a city, it is both an indicator, a result of a series of decisions. At the same time it is also a means with which we can make healthy, smart and sustainable cities. Ask what is needed to be done for people to get cycling and you will be given a series of tasks big and small that make a city healthier and more functional for all people, regardless how they move about.
Enabling urban cycling requires transforming a city. It is something that benefits all citizens, even those who do not cycle. I have advocated for urban and winter cycling by writing articles that offer constructive criticism and suggestions to the municipality. This I have done in my capacity as a Tallinner from my spare time, as cities in the Nordics require very little instruction as to why provide people a safe and healthy urban environment.
What are your plans as Bicycle Mayor?
The biggest issue in Tallinn is the lack of safe cycling infrastructure and a strong opposition by the municipality to build lanes, permanent or temporary. Shelters for storing bicycles come at third place, in my view. Countless experts have advised the city in strategies, articles, and interviews to make streets safer. Alas, the municipality denies the need to take action, claiming that rising car traffic is an inevitability. It seems that the universal urban law of induced demand does not exist in Tallinn.
My strategy is to help build public pressure, make the case to create change among municipality, government, daily commuters, parents, and children – now. I aim to do this by:
● Urge the city to follow the Tallinn Bicycle Strategy 2018-2027, which has been prepared by the best mobility experts in Estonia and guides in the development of cycle lanes.
● Engage citizens on the matter by publishing articles, organizing debates, interviews, and webinars with mobility experts,
● Encourage all people to step forward personally or anonymously to voice their opinions, share photos and experiences.
● I want to start by transforming the urban environment around schools to become low traffic neighbourhoods and installing bike stands to every student.