Good Bikes and Free Streets

By Michael Haggerty

We’ve been noticing a lot more bicycles on the streets here in Solo.

Maybe it’s the time of year – in the dry season it’s so much easier to be outside. And this year, the weather in Central Java has been especially forgiving. Maybe it’s even a little less dusty than usual around here.

But right now is also the anniversary of “Solo Car Free Day.” Last year, for the first time, the city shut down Jalan Slamet Riyadi, which is the main commercial and cultural corridor in Solo. Every Sunday morning – from just after prayers at 5:00 a.m. until 9:00 a.m. – the street is closed to cars and motorcycles. It’s becoming so popular that even people who don’t own one are climbing onto their friends’ bikes just to be part of this scene of early-risers.

Good Bikes and Free Streets from Michael Haggerty on Vimeo.

So it’s possible that Solo Car Free Day is also encouraging people to bring their bikes out during the rest of the week to get to work and school or go shopping. This would be a welcome alternative – if the streets become more accommodating for people on bikes, maybe they’ll even become safer for pedestrians!

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