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Pandemic Prompts Tunisia’s Bike Revolution

With the pandemic prompting more Tunisians to hop on their bikes, whether to fill downtime or to get around travel restrictions, one activist group is using the jump in two-wheeled travel to boost their call for authorities to take cycling more seriously. Launched in 2017, Velorution Tunisie organises bike trips for residents and tourists, runs a weekly bike school and holds monthly protest rides to demand officials improve urban cycling infrastructure. There are only a handful of cycle lanes in Tunisia, and just a few racks or shelters for people to store their bikes, said Hamza Abderrahim, president and cofounder of the group, which gets its name from the French word for “bike” and “revolution”. In its push to encourage authorities to accommodate cyclists, Velorution has prepared feasibility studies on bike lanes and parking in parts of the country. Following one of these studies, authorities in Ariana in north Tunisia approved a bike lane as part of their 2021 budget, said the town’s mayor, Fadhel Moussa, in a phone interview. But the project has paused because of resistance from roadside sellers, drivers and motorcyclists, who are against sharing the road, Moussa added.