The awards were co-sponsored by the Mobile 2020 project , to which REC head office and seven country offices are partners. Hungary's State Secretary for Infrastructure, Pál Völner, presided at the ceremony, attended by about 100 guests.
To be considered for the award, the towns and companies must submit reams of data and documents proving their commitment to bike-friendly transport. Infrastructure and promotional efforts are the main criteria for communities; bike parking and other types of encouragement are top criteria for employers.
For companies, the payoff is prestige and fulfillment of corporate social responsibility. For municipalities, there's also material motivation: "Bike-Friendly Settlement" status gives them bonus points in applications for EU development subsidies.
The awards are given out annually in a joint effort between the Hungarian government and the Cycling Hungary Association. This year's award ceremony was hosted by the REC with prizes and other material support from the Mobile 2020 project.
At the event, Völner underscored that the ministry sponsors the scheme for the same reason it backs Hungary's Bike to Work campaigns and events connected to European Mobility Week and Car Free Day. The goal is to promote bicycling as transport. He boasted that one fruit of these efforts is that Hungary is now, according to a survey commissioned by the European Cyclists Federation, number eight in Europe in terms of its cycling levels and conditions.
Applicants for the awards have good cycling kudos. On the bike-friendly settlement side, the nine new designees had an average cycling modal share of 45 percent. These towns are also spending a growing share of their transport investments on cycling. In 2011, the average share was 11 percent while in 2012 it was up to 14 percent.
Among the recognised bike-friendly workplaces, cycling is a favoured mode of transport among managers as well as workers. Among newly designated companies, 35 percent of CEOs cycle regularly to work, while 20 percent of middle managers do and 44 percent of junior managers.
Among companies that have renewed their designations, 14 percent of CEOs cycle regularly, 20 percent of middle managers do and 37 percent of junior managers.
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