Hungary: Critical Mass report

Budapest Critical Mass with up to 30,000 people

Budapest, Hungary has experienced its greatest Critical Mass bike ride ever on September 22, 2005. Estimates range between 24,000 and 30,000. This would therefore also make it one of the greatest Critical Mass rides in history.

Budapest, Hungary has experienced its greatest Critical Mass bike ride ever on September 22, 2005. Estimates range between 24,000 and 30,000. This would therefore also make it one of the greatest Critical Mass rides in history.

The last year has seen a mushrooming participation in Critical Mass rides in the Hungarian capitol. The initial breakthrough came on World Carfree Day in 2004, when 4,000 riders participated. This was followed by an Earth Day Critical Mass ride on April 22 of this year with a staggering 10,000 people. The trend is still in progress. Bicycle messenger groups are in a large way to credit for organizing and publisizing this event. Otherwise organizations like the Hungarian Young Greens (Zöfi) and Clean Air Action Group have also helped in the organization.

This is especially good news for the city of Budapest, as it otherwise does not have a very good bike lane network, nor is motorized traffic usually very respective of cyclists. So far the city government has not showed very much interest in bike riders, but this is now changing, as the talk of the town has turned to bikes and Critical Mass.

Related links :
For photos, please see, on the right hand side are many links, under „fotok"

See discussion on Hungary Indymedia at:

Hungarian Young Greens:
Clean Air Action Group:

add a comment on this article


mit( from France) 30.Sep.2005 19:24

Yo echtet kivanok magyar friends !
Welcome in babylon but i see that resistance is growing here in magyarorszage. I went in eastern europoe this summerand your activist have really work to do to ficht corporate car and cunsomtion society.
keep on rollin'
Vizslat !
mit (our free video website)

This in no way helps its cause

Steven 01.Oct.2005 03:58

Didn't Critical Mass start as a movement to promote more biker and pedestrian friendly streets in and transportation in North America? European cities are already very biker and pedestrian friendly. It is driving a car there that is a pain in the ass. 30,000 bikers in Budapest will in no way help get SUVs out of American suburbs create larger sidewalks in urban centers or whatever you are trying to promote.

for steven

mit( from France) 01.Oct.2005 09:13

I don't understand the entire message you wrote. But the critical masses ride are acting localy. for the cyclist in budepaste it was a pride march of cyclist in Hungary. They are not fighting for a situation in america. Ther are also critical masses in Usa. And, moreover, d'ont think that cities here in Europe (i live in paris) are bikes friendly that'a sfalse. Like in the usa we have moles, car suburbias, and industrial landscapes only buil dfor cars. This landscape and urbanisme fashion comes from the US landscape style from the 50's, our traditional urbanism died in conumtion society.

answer for Steven

G.Borjan 01.Oct.2005 11:10

Sorry, but the CriticalMass Hungary won't help to solve Your problems in the US, but in general, the action was similar to other CMs. The message of the movement IS NOT LOCAL, BUT GLOBAL!!! We're not against the cars, here in Budapest, but we lack the bicycle lanes not only in Budapest, but in Hungary in general. The problem of course the cars inside the city, but first of all, we need more bike lanes. If we'll get a lot more lanes especially designed for bike ride, more and more car owners will leave the cars at home for the daily trips to /and from/ work. The special problem here, that the mass transportation is expensive and the quality is poor, we don't have enough bike lanes, so the only solution is the car. A wrong solution, we know, but we don't have a reliable, good and affordable alternative.

Don't forget: approx. more than 70 percent of the CM participiants use their own car. Just because it's dangerous to use the bike on the roads inside Budapest..

The main message addressed to the government of Budapest: we need more bike roads! We need more security during our bike ride. We'll be glad to use the bike instead of the cars, but we need more infrastucture designed for bicycle transport.

We're not crazy people, who protest againt the cars, we still need our cars to tranport our children, to carry heavy load etc.. but we're ready to make a balance between the car usage and the bike usage, based on the requirements, if the infrastructure will help this balance, by providing more security for us.

We're very sad, that today only a CM can guarantee our safety /with help from the police/ during a 15 km trip in Budapest...

TO:This in no way helps its cause

Slaggy from "the 'burgh" 02.Oct.2005 04:45

There are growing numbers of cars in the EU. Growing numbers of cars in Asia. Cyclists will be displaced. The oil will flow. Participate to preserve participate to change.

Budapest Critical Mass Photos

redjade 02.Oct.2005 13:38

since I couldn't upload more than one photo to a single newswire post on I will post them here instead.

Budapest Critical Mass Photos

redjade 02.Oct.2005 13:42


Budapest Critical Mass Photos

redjade 02.Oct.2005 13:51

other photos

Budapest Critical Mass Photos

redjade 02.Oct.2005 13:54

other photos

Critical Mass in .hu

redjade 02.Oct.2005 14:03

past photos and stuff in ireland

one more

redjade 02.Oct.2005 14:04

the last

okok three more

redjade 02.Oct.2005 14:20

3 more...

Hooray for Hungarian CM organizers!!

Peter Kerek 02.Oct.2005 14:50

As politicians around the world know, for every protester, there's about 100 sympathizers who for whatever reason can't make it out to protest. When the numbers are big, politicians listen and take action, 'cause if they don't, those numbers will translate into electoral failure and political ruin.

I've driven in Budapest on several occasions and I don't believe there was any way a cyclist could safely get anywhere - there's just not enough room on the streets and the traffic is very hectic. I also was told that cars have the right-of-way in all instances other than when a pedestrian is crossing at a traffic light.

Congrats Budapest!

Chicago CCM Rider 05.Oct.2005 18:10

30,000 is almost unbelievable. I've seen 1,500 in Chicago, and its hard to imagine twenty times that amount. Awesome.

The Worlds largest bicycle demonstration

KnNie 06.Oct.2005 10:33

The worlds largest bicycle demonstration in history was in Copenhagen may 19. 1979 where at least 30.000 participated according to the media - of course the organisers as always claimed the figure was a lot higher.

The following year between 20.000 and 25.000 bicyclers demonstrated in Copenhagen may 31 1980 according to police officials, while other demonstrations took place i 40 other danish cities. 7000 participated in Århus - the second largest city of Denmark.

However after the bicycle demonstration in 1982 "only" gathered 10.000 participants in Copenhagen, the annual bicycle demonstrations for better conditions for bicyclers stopped - better conditions in trafic for bicyclers, more bicycle paths (is it the correct term in english?) etc. probably played a signifant role as well.


HCE 06.Oct.2005 11:56

great respect for budapest bikers.

I wish I was there.

I've seen a ~2k CM in milano on dec 6 2003 (COP9 conference): we were just too many, and at a certain point we had to split in several smaller groups (few hundreds each).

how did it work in budapest, was it also split? did the police help managing the crowd? did the traffic block completely.

please let us know more.


good job

rusl 07.Oct.2005 00:30

I've ridden in Budapest and they really need this. This is so wonderful! Keep up the good work.

Where was car-free day in Eugene , Oregon?!

juliana 08.Oct.2005 21:56

Nothing happened here on car-free day; I didn't even know it was an important day elsewhere until I listened to Democracy Now that morning. This makes me very sad - in this 'so called' progressive town there are way too many cars, minivans and SUVs. I, personally, haven't owned a car for 20 years, but I can count the people I know w/o cars here on one hand.

to HCE

G.Borjan 11.Oct.2005 10:47

Hello HCE,

Here in Budapest the whole mass /hehe/ completed the demonstration as ONE crowd. the police helped of course at the front and at the rear too. they stopped the traffic completely and opened the roads immediately after the last cyclist.