UN-initiative 'Tour in Sour': introducing green means of transportation in Lebanon
09 August 2023
Khadeja Salim & Hussein Kahwaji are now navigating the streets of the southern port city of Tyre, one of the oldest cities in the world. Learn more...
Khadeja Salim and Hussein Kahwaji are now navigating the streets of the southern port city of Tyre, one of the oldest cities in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage site in Lebanon, on two-wheeled rides.
It all began with the launch of two public bike stations, strategically placed at prominent locations within the city of Tyre. “It is a brilliant initiative not only for Tyre residents but also for those visiting the city,” Hussein says, a Tyre resident.
UN Lebanon is promoting the cycling culture among the different segments of Tyre community by establishing two public bike stations in the city through a bike-sharing initiative that is facilitated by UN-Habitat's City-to-City partnership between the Swiss city of Zurich and Tyre municipalities. It aims to nurture a shift towards diversifying transportation options in the city, one step at a time.
These bike stations have become vibrant hubs that serve as meeting points for residents seeking a new way to navigate their city and accomplish daily errands. Hussein visits the station daily, and Khadeja, a couple of times a week; they select a bike, hop onto the seats and off they go, pedalling their way to run various errands, roam the city and shop.
“I use the bike for grocery shopping, buying bread, and going to the beach. The city is small; I tour its busy streets on the bike,” Hussein says. “I enjoy roaming the city and visiting Tyre Reserve and Al-Mina sites. I once used it to go to the ATM to withdraw my salary,” Khadeja says.
Bikes in Tyre present an affordable and cost-effective alternative to private cars and motorcycles allowing individuals to save money on fuel, parking and public transportation costs, especially amidst soaring fuel prices in Lebanon. Hussein and Khadeja both experienced cost savings by using bikes from these stations. They were offered a convenient way to incorporate exercise into their routines promoting a healthy lifestyle; for Hussein, he exercises in an indirect way while pedaling to the shops.
The bike-share initiative provides a flexible transportation option for trips in the city and offers individuals the freedom to easily access bikes when needed. “Whenever I want, I go to the bike station and rent a bike to run my errands and sometimes for recreational purposes. The affordable rental fee makes it even more convenient for us,” Khadeja says.
For Hussein, the trip that takes him an hour to drive in a car takes him minutes on a bike and he never worries about finding parking spots for the bikes, unlike cars.
Through this initiative, accessibility within the community was also enhanced making it easier for people to reach various destinations including ones that are not reachable by cars such as the old souk, and alleyways next to Al-Mina and Corniche. “I navigate Al Hara’s narrow path, enjoying the scenery without bothering its inhabitants with vehicular noise pollution,” Hussein says.
“People are encouraging each other to use bikes and more residents are embracing the cycling culture in Tyre,” says Hassan Srour, Mobility Coordinator and GIS officer at the municipality of Tyre.
“Tyre is much nicer without car traffic. We hope everyone in Tyre embraces the cycling culture,” said Hussein and Khadeja.