The leadership of Budapest University of Technology and Economics is also keen to promote cycling among the university's citizens.
Despite the gloomy weather, a good number of cyclists gathered at the Bridge of Sighs early in the morning at BME. The organisers welcomed those arriving on two wheels with pastries, fruit, handy flasks filled with water and waterproof saddle covers.
At 9 a.m cyclists were greeted by Rector Tibor Czigány. The Rector highlighted in his speech that the working group for the ”Sustainable BME” programme was set up in the spring of 2022, bringing together university citizens in four areas. One is the transport group, whose main objective is to promote sustainable and safe modes of transport, be it for commuting to work or travelling to conferences. The idea of the Bike & Breakfast event stems from this, as cycling is the most sustainable and healthiest mode of transport with the least CO2 emission. Tibor Czigány stressed the role of leaders not only by showing their support, but also by leading by example. He said that the BME’s Chancellor and himself do not use company cars, travelling to work by public transport instead, despite the considerable distance from their homes.
Referring to the importance of safe bicycle storage, he pointed out that currently there are open and sheltered storage facilities for 655 bicycles in 23 sites on campus. The location of the storage areas is also shown on a Google map, which is available in digital format on the university’s main website. As for the future, the Rector mentioned that, in addition to expanding the storage facilities, showers are being built and further incentive programmes are also planned.
Afterwards tool kits for cyclists, financed by the Pro Progressio Foundation were handed over during a ceremony. From today, these emergency tool kits are available in 4 places on campus: at the gates of the CH and Q buildings, and at the barrier gates in Stoczek József Street and Bertalan Lajos Street on the main campus.
Tibor Czigány closed his speech by thanking the organisers: Professor György Keglevich, head of the Sustainable BME Working Group, Domokos Esztergár-Kiss senior research fellow, head of the Transport Group, and the main sponsor of the event, the Pro Progressio Foundation, which not only provided the tools, but also the catering for the participants. He also expressed his thanks to the MISZ BME School Union https://miszisz.hu/ which donated the practical flasks for the cyclists.
Following the Rector’s speech, János Levendovszky, Vice-Rector for Science and Innovation, pointed out that such events can provide incentives, change mindsets and turn a one-off occasion into a habit.
György Keglevich talked about other areas in which the “Sustainable BME” working group is involved, introduced the leaders present and expressed his joy at seeing students, lecturers, staff, and even vice-deans and heads of departments among the cyclists.
Chair of the Board at Pro Progressio Foundation, János Pakucs said in his short speech that creating a sustainable future plays an important role in the values of the foundation, so they are happy to support the university in the search for and introduction of environmentally conscious solutions. The foundation will provide a total of HUF 1 million for the operation of the “Sustainable BME” working group. The ceremonial signing of the cooperation agreement took place this morning.
The sponsorship of the BME Bike & Breakfast event and the toolkits is the first entry that has been awarded with financing, hopefully followed by many more.
The last speech was delivered by the event’s initiator, Domokos Esztergár-Kiss, who emphasised the beneficial effects of cycling both for the cyclists and the environment. He explained that the best way to make a difference is to start cycling to work, so it is important to inspire people to do so through personal incentives and safe infrastructure. The toolkits are also meant to help with this. He gave details of the upcoming May Mileage race, which will be advertised in several forums.
At the end of the event, the cyclists made a short lap of honour around the campus, demonstrating their commitment to sustainable transport.
Photo: Geberle B.