TODAY -

3rd June is World Bicycle Day : Let’s celebrate the bicycle

Ranjan K Baruah *



There are many like me who have been fascinated with bicycles. When we were kids we could see newspaper hawkers and the milkman early in the morning with their bicycles. For a long time I was thinking that newspaper hawkers could be a part time earning activity though I never tried that.

In a country like India or any other developing Nations bicycle has been part and partial of their life as it was used for livelihood. In urban areas and rich people the use of bicycles is different and it is different for someone who is using it for their livelihoods.

We are aware that regular physical activity of moderate intensity–such as walking, cycling, or doing sports – has significant benefits for health. 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.

Acknowledging the uniqueness, longevity and versatility of the bicycle, which has been in use for two centuries, and that it is a simple, affordable, reliable, clean and environ- mentally fit sustainable means of transpor- tation, fostering environmental stewardship and health, the UN General Assembly decided to declare 3 June World Bicycle Day (WBD).

The day draws attention to the benefits of using the bicycle—a simple, affordable, clean and environmen- tally 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 popula-tions.

A sustainable trans- port system that promotes economic growth reduces inequalities while bolstering the fight against climate change is critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

On 15 March 2022, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the resolution on integration of mainstream bicycling into public transportation systems for sustainable development. It emphasized that the bicycle is an instrument of sustainable transportation and conveys a positive message to foster sustainable consumption and production, and has a positive impact on climate.

According to the WHO Global action plan on physical activity 2018–2030, physical activity has multiplicative health, social and economic benefits, and investment in policy actions to increase physical activity can contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). There are multiple direct and indirect pathways, by which policies to promote physical activity through walking, cycling, sport, active recreation and play, support 13 of the SDGs.

We are aware that regular physical activity is proven to help prevent and treat noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and breast and colon cancer. It also helps to prevent hypertension, overweight and obesity and can improve mental health, quality of life and well-being.

Using a bicycle not only helps us to remain fit but also lowers our carbon footprint. There should be provision for cyclists on roads like separate lanes so that more people would use the same.

Everyone can help limit climate change. From the way we travel, to the electricity we use, the food we eat, and the things we buy, we can make a difference. The world’s roadways are clogged with vehicles, most of them burning diesel or gasoline. Walking or riding a bike instead of driving will reduce greenhouse gas emissions — and help your health and fitness. These ten actions can help tackle the climate crisis.

Cycling can be an alternate solution for many in the country. Let us together promote bicycles and contribute towards combating climate change and keeping our health more healthy.

(With direct inputs from UN publication )


* Ranjan K Baruah wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer can be contacted at bkranjan(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on 03 June 2023.



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