Poland has taken part in European Car Free Day – Dzien bez samochodu – since 2004. The event is celebrated every year on 22 September, to mark the end of mobility week.
Krakow will be among the 113 Polish cities hoping to persuade drivers that public transport, cycling and walking are viable alternatives to the private car. Organisers believe the event will help raise awareness about the need to reduce pollution in cities. They also want to promote the health benefits of walking and cycycling, and improve quality of life by reducing traffic noise.
Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for the Environment, said, “Too many Europeans rely on their cars for both long and, more worryingly, for short journeys. This is a concern for many reasons. More driving means more accidents on the road and more air pollution. What’s more, greater car use means less exercise, a factor that has contributed to high levels of overweight people and obesity across Europe. The main theme of European Mobility Week 2010 – ‘Travel Smarter, Live Better’- is a wake-up call to local authorities, to consider more the impact of travel policies on the urban environment and quality of life, and to help people make smarter, healthier travel choices.”
Tourists in Krakow can get the best out of a short trip to the city by exploring it on foot. There are also cycle paths and organised cycle tours taking in the most historic sites. For the more adventurous, there are established routes outside the city, leading to attractions such as Tyniec Abbey and the Pilsudski Mound.
Bike rental and repair shops abound in Krakow, and the city has its own self-service cycle hire system called BikeOne. To take advantage of the BikeOne scheme, visit www.bikeone.pl.