Campaign launched to promote cycling for healthy cities

Published On: January 2, 2021 03:22 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Jan 2: Various stakeholders including the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport, United Nations Development Programme, Lalitpur Metropolitan City and Cycle City Network Nepal (CCNN) jointly launched a new campaign to promote cycling and other environment-friendly practices in Nepal.

The initiative, which will kick off with a cycle rally in Lalitpur on January 9, will promote sustainable urban mobility and environment-friendly lifestyle choices for urban populations in the context of COVID-19 and beyond by promoting cycling as an alternative mode of clean, healthy and affordable transport for commuters in cities. Part of the campaign will also focus on advocacy and awareness for adoption of cycle-friendly policies and programs and environment-friendly lifestyle choices for urban populations. The campaign will be launched from at least two municipalities, and one of them will be Lalitpur Metropolitan City, and will be scaled up further in the coming years, according to a press statement issued by UNDP, Nepal.

The campaign will make use of existing technology to track, map, credit and reward cycling practices and gradually connect with the larger ecosystem of solutions for healthy cities. People will be motivated to use cycle or switch to cycling and other forms of cleaner transport through gamification of the cycling practice that incentivizes cyclists with rewards and also favours clean-businesses that sponsor and take part in the game. The campaign assumes that people will be more willing to switch to or continue cycle-commuting for multiple reasons, including, economic, health, environmental as well as COVID-related safety reasons. The challenges are to ensure more investment for cycle-friendly infrastructure so that safety issues could be improved. 

The cycle campaign will offer opportunities for private sector contribution through sponsorship and other in-kind rewards, along with some business development opportunities for interested private sector companies as we move ahead. 

“Bicycles have been in use for two centuries, and they continue to be a simple, affordable, reliable, clean and environmentally-fit sustainable means of transportation, fostering environmental stewardship and health.  Cycling should be included in the development programs where stakeholders encourage the use of the bicycle as a means of fostering sustainable development. It is a means to access schools, health facilities, and to keep fit young and old, rich and poor alike,” the statement quoted UNDP Resident Representative Ayshanie Medagangoda-Labe as saying. Success of such initiatives, she said, will depend on how all others, including motorists and policy makers facilitate the ride, including safety and security.

Mayor of Lalitpur Metropolitan City Chiribabu Maharjan said he is pleased to launch this joint campaign to further motivate the people in our city to use the cycle as an alternative means of transport. "As the first city to have initiated cycle lanes, I believe it makes great sense to initiate the cycle campaign from Lalitpur. We look forward to building healthier cities together,” Maharjan is quoted as saying. 

“The Government of Nepal’s National Plan for Electric Mobility (NPEM) envisions improving air quality, among several other means, through 50% cut in the use of fossil fuels in the transport sector by 2050 and to decrease the rate of air pollution through proper monitoring of sources of pollutants across waste, old and unmaintained vehicles and industries. Promoting cycling in cities, I believe, will be one of the immediate and low-cost and most sustainable ways of reaching that target. Promoting cycling makes a strong case for sustainability of Nepal’s existing and emerging cities,” said Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport, Gopal Prasad Sigdel.

CCNN President Shailendra Dongol said they are pleased to be part of the campaign that aims to provide an open platform for all cycle advocates to come together and collaborate for making our cities cycle friendly. "The campaign will offer opportunities for private sector companies to sponsor, invest and experiment on a number of businesses around cycling, and other environment friendly practices such as recycling and plantation,” the statement quoted Maharjan as saying.

The cycle campaign will also be backed up and supported by a wide range of partners, including, Kantipur Media Group, Yeti Airlines, Sano Paila, G.D. Labs and Research and Cycling Cities, India. More partners and sponsors from local governments and the private sector are expected to join in the coming days.

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