Eight Engineers from the Netherlands and Egypt spoke to a crowd of about sixty, including stakeholders from public authorities, academia, and the civil society,at the Netherlands-Flemish Institute in Cairo on October 18th. The day-long seminar, titled “Cycling in Egypt?: Cycling as a Means of Transport”, focused on biking and other forms of urban transport, with the goal of reducing traffic congestion in Cairo.
The three speakers from the Netherlands gave presentations on the current state of biking in the Netherlands, how the requisite infrastructure and culture was developed, and what is being done to maintain and improve it now. The five speakers from Egypt spoke on the reality of biking in Egypt now, what problems need to be overcome to promote biking, and how these problems are being addressed. Afterwards, a panel discussion was held, where the audience summed up the main obstacles to widespread biking in Cairo. The two main obstacles discussed were sexual harassment and the perception of biking as a marker of low class. While engineering and urban planning can solve some of the problems bikers face in Cairo, the soft sciences are needed as well to study and improve the culture around biking.
This seminar was put on by The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Egypt, the Netherlands-Flemish Institute in Cairo (NVIC), and the Green Arm of Nahdet El-Mahrousa, three members of which gave presentations during the seminar.