"We are now a kosher city for people who love bicycles," says Eytan Schwartz from the Tel Aviv Municipality.
Video courtesy of jn1.tv (Reporter: Sivan Raviv)
"When you look at cities like Amsterdam or Copenhagen or Brussels of course, they have such a developed policy regarding bicycles. When you see that they and you have more or less the ideals, more or less the same agenda and that you reach a certain standard, that means that you are on a very high level of encouraging bicycles."
Cycling with the city bikes in Tel Aviv now allows an affordable and convenient alternative to commuting from one place to another for many of its residents.
"There are three major conditions for a bicycle city and we reach all three," Schwartz adds. "A. we're flat; B. The weather here is great; and C. We're a relatively small city, so it's easy to get from place to place by bicycles.
"Tel Aviv is the perfect city for biking and you see a constant rise in the usage of bicycles on a daily basis, as a sport activity: Among children, among people commuting to work. On every parameter, Tel Aviv is constantly on the rise, and now a lot of people use bicycles instead of using the car and that's great for the environment, it's great for the physique, and it's great for the overall of the city."
'Improvement in quality of life'
The bicycles offer a great solution for the congestion and traffic jams that at times characterize Tel Avivian life, and especially free residents of the endless search for parking spots when driving a car in this populated city.
"My personal quality of life was just inferior to what it is today," says Guy, a local resident. "I just don't remember how I used to get from one place to the other. I probably just walked a lot, or used buses.
"And especially on the weekends when there's no public transportation, it was really bad. But now everything is just so much better, so much brighter.”
The desire to be an environmentally-friendly city does not end with the Tel-O-Fun rental bicycles and the biking paths.
“Green initiatives are extremely important to the mayor, they're extremely important to the city administration among other things that are extremely important to the people of Tel Aviv," says Schwartz.
"So you have the bicycles, you have projects in terms of green transportation, you have projects in terms of green construction, you have community gardens, 20% of the city is green, every two hours we plant a new tree.
"So there's across the border a very clear strategy of making this city more green, more sustainable, and the bicycle project is one of the more visible ones that everybody sees, but there's a lot of stuff happening at the same time which has made this city much more green than it used to be.”
About 20 years ago, the ones who were primarily riding bicycles in Israel were the children. And now, more and more adults ride both for fun and for sport. And the city of Tel Aviv is hoping that someday soon, bicycles will be equally important to cars.