Thursday morning, after saying goodbye to Lisa and Felix, the biketour had a rendez-vous with people from ECAT, a Tirana based NGO which assist the government on environmental and technical issues.
As Tirana is totally overcrowded with cars, the city has a problem with small particle (soot) pollution. To fight this silent killer the local government started to promote public transport and cycling in town.
After visiting several towns in France and Germany, ECAT made a plan to construct combined bike- and buslanes. These will encourage citizens to make more use non-polluting transport options. ECAT invited The Biketour for a photo shoot on the lanes (yellow on the map), to use the pictures for promotion of the lanes.
After the totally crazy Durrës-Tirana Autostrada, the lanes indeed felt a save haven. The only disadvantage was that the lanes were few, and not well connected – sometimes going against traffic. But Varik from ECAT stressed that the current lanes were just the beginning, and that slowly there would be more and more safe paths for cyclists.
After the photo shoot, we had a small discussion with the people from ECAT. Joao insisted that it would be much safer not to separate cyclists and cars, as there would be much more and sever accidents at places where the two separated stretches would meet. He said that it would be better to slow down the speed of all traffic, to make cycling between the cars safe. On the other hand, as Tirana does not have a whole lot of cyclists yet, we recognized that this first step in promotion of more healthy modes of transport was a good thing.
Helping ECAT out with the photo shoot, gave the participants of the Biketour a bit more sense of purpose after a few not so successful attempts. Varik helped us finding a really nice hostel in Tirana where we could put our tents under the orange trees. Friday morning we left for Kruje.