MONROVIA – On Saturday, June 5, the Monrovia Cycling Club (MCC) with over 20 cyclists with support from the GIZ, part of the German international Cooperation and the Energizing Development Program – EnDev, celebrated the WORLD BICYCLE DAY to create awareness in Monrovia about benefits of cycling for health, social and environmental impact.
Since 2018, June 3rd is declared as World Bicycle Day by the United Nations General Assembly. This day is globally commemorated for the uniqueness, longevity, and versatility of the Bicycle, which has been in use for two centuries as a simple, affordable, reliable, clean, and environmentally sustainable means of transport.
As part of the activities marking this year’s celebration, bicycle riders assembled at the Ministerial Complex in Congo Town, at 9:00 AM and headed to the Ducor Palace Hotel in Central Monrovia via the Tubman Blvd. and back. All bickers were dressed according to the rules of Safety, wearing a helmet while riding a bicycle, and as well wearing a “Green T-shirt” to signify a greener and healthier environment through cycling.
Among the invitees were a wild range of people from the Monrovia Cycling Club, the Liberia Cycling Association, GIZ staff, the traffic section of the Liberia National Police, business people, social workers, well-wishers and the media.
MONROVIA CYCLING CLUB:
In November of 2019, the Monrovia Cycling Club (MCC) was formed by bicycle riders who decided to ride every Saturday morning as a medium to exercise. This small group originally called “Bikers” evolved to also contribute to other societal needs thus the new name was crafted as the “Monrovia Cycling Club”. They are passionate about bicycle riding and keeping fit and concerned about our society and giving back to our society through community services and raising awareness.
CYCLING & COVID-19:
Cycling is not only a great way to stay healthy (not only in times of the COVID-19 outbreak) and as well as a social and environmental impact on the World. But cycling is also an effective way to support physical distancing and to relieve the burden on public transport during a pandemic.
Worldwide – in Berlin, New York, Bogotá – the topic of pop-up bike lanes has developed great momentum since the last year, during the Pandemic. Pop-up bike lanes (also called emergency bike lanes) are temporary bike lanes that enable social distancing by providing more space for cyclists on the one hand and relieving the public transport system on the other.
About World Bicycle Day:
Cycling has many benefits, ranging from improving health conditions to positive environmental, social and economic impacts. There is a strong necessity for provision of cycling infrastructure and insurance of safety of riders.
Health – To be fit and healthy you need to be physically active. Regular physical activity can help protect you from serious diseases such as obesity, heart disease, cancer, mental illnesses, diabetes, or arthritis. Riding your bicycle regularly is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of health problems associated with a sedentary lifestyle.
Social & Economic Impact: Bicycle is a very affordable means of transportation, as it does not require continuous spending on fuel. Maintenance of a bicycle is rather economic and easy to handle. In Liberia middle or lower middle-class citizens can spend up to one third of their income on transportation. Instead, they could save these costs by riding a bicycle and cover other needs.
More bicycles mean fewer cars, which combats congestion and air pollution. So, more cycling can contribute directly to a cleaner environment and better health, especially in cities. With fewer emissions of cars, the temperature will decrease in urban areas.
Environmental impact: According to the Institute for Transportation and Development, Bicycling could help cut carbon emissions from urban transportation by 11 percent.
Studies have shown that cycling 10 km each way to work would save 1,500 kg of greenhouse gas emissions each year. With a moderate increase in the use of bicycles, cycling could save 6 to 14 million tons of CO2 and 700 million to 1.6 billion gallons of fuel each year.
Cycling to work or city can cut down on greenhouse gas emissions and global climate change. Reduces air pollutants (walking and biking emit no greenhouse gases). Reduces noise pollution and congestion. Reduces the need for new parking lots and roadways.
The necessity of cycling infrastructure and safety: Cyclists need safety, either separate lanes or respected safety on the road. If there is a separate cycling lane from Paynesville to Monrovia, thousands of people can use bicycles on their way to work instead of waiting for transport for hours, they could go straight to work. It’s just 30 min bike ride, while how much does it usually take for someone to wait for a transport and get through traffic from Paynesville to Central Monrovia?
Best practices: As a cyclist or road user, it is always good to follow the traffic signs and respect other road users. Make sure to be properly attire – wear a helmet, shoe, bright colors clothing, reflector, headlight and backlight (if riding at night), and make sure that your brakes are working.
Bicycle infrastructure: For example – in Berlin, New York, Bogotá – the topic of pop-up bike lanes has developed great momentum since last year during Pandemic. Pop-up bike lanes (also called emergency bike lanes) are temporary bike lanes that enable social distancing by providing more space for cyclists on the one hand and relieving the public transport system on the other. Likewise, providing a cycling lane in Monrovia would make the city of Monrovia safer and cleaner.
UN about World Bicycle Day
Regular physical activity of moderate intensity – such as walking, cycling, or doing sports – has significant benefits for health. At all ages, the benefits of being physically active outweigh potential harm, for example through accidents. Some physical activity is better than none. By becoming more active throughout the day in relatively simple ways, people can quite easily achieve the recommended activity levels.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), safe infrastructure for walking and cycling is also a pathway for achieving greater health equity. For the poorest urban sector, who often cannot afford private vehicles, walking and cycling can provide a form of transport while reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke, certain cancers, diabetes, and even death. Accordingly, improved active transport is not only healthy; it is also equitable and cost-effective.
Meeting the needs of people who walk and cycle continues to be a critical part of the mobility solution for helping cities de-couple population growth from increased emissions, and to improve air quality and road safety. The COVID-19 pandemic has also led many cities to rethink their transport systems.
Cycling and Sustainable development
World Bicycle Day draws attention to the benefits of using the bicycle — a simple, affordable, clean and environmentally fit sustainable means of transportation. The bicycle contributes to cleaner air and less congestion and makes education, health care and other social services more accessible to the most vulnerable populations. A sustainable transport system that promotes economic growth, reduces inequalities while bolstering the fight against climate change is critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. (Source: https://www.un.org/en/observances/bicycle-day)