FACTBOX - World Carfree Day

MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 22nd September, 2019) The annual World Carfree Day is celebrated on Sunday.

The World Carfree Day is an international symbolic action, the main purpose of which is to remind society how dangerous excessive motorization is for nature and human beings.

The first car-free day was held in Switzerland in 1973, when the country's authorities, due to a fuel crisis, urged citizens to give up their cars for four days. A number of separate car-free actions were held throughout European countries during these years until 1997, when the United Kingdom organized the first nationwide campaign. France joined the initiative a year later.

A European Carfree Day was organized in 1999 as part of the "In town, without my car!" campaign, which continued as the European Mobility Week. It is held annually under the auspices of the European Commission from September 16 to September 22. In 2019, the European Mobility Week theme is "Walk with us."

In 2000, a network of activists and organizations World Carfree Network held the first international Carfree Day.

Some cities are making efforts to limit the use of individual cars for everyday driving, as well as to develop comfortable and convenient public transport, pedestrian areas, and cycling infrastructure.

Many cities are holding bicycle demonstrations. The first such event was organized in 1992 by cyclists in San Francisco, with only 48 people participating in it. However, the number of demonstrators and venues was growing rapidly. The largest number of participants can be usually observed at demonstrations in London (the United Kingdom), Sydney and Melbourne (Australia), San Francisco (the United States) and Budapest (Hungary).

It was estimated that more than 100 million people in 1,500 cities of the world participate in the World Carfree Day campaign every year.

In Russia, Belgorod was the first city to support the CarFree Day initiative in 2005. The campaign has been held in Moscow since 2008. According to the Moscow Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, if Moscow residents give up their cars for at least one day, there will be 2,700 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to the atmosphere less.

In 2009, the city of Kaliningrad joined the initiative.

In 2010, events marking World Carfree Day were first organized by supporters of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in Russia and local authorities of a number of cities, including St. Petersburg, Stavropol, Tver, Chita, Tambov, Kursk, Kazan, Samara and dozens of others.

In Moscow, the campaign is supported by the Moscow City Transit Authority (Mosgortrans): on the eve of the event, urban passenger transport is preparing for an increase in passenger flows and the company's employees are undergoing additional training.

In 2019, the "Bike to Work" campaign will be held within World Carfree Day in Moscow. Some cafes, restaurants, bicycle workshops and beauty salons are providing discounts to visitors on bicycles.