World Bicycle Day: Promotes a healthy lifestyle globally

04Jun 2020
The Guardian
World Bicycle Day: Promotes a healthy lifestyle globally

​​​​​​​In April 2018, the United Nations General Assembly declared June 3 as International World Bicycle Day.  The resolution for World Bicycle Day recognises  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 environmentally fit sustainable means of transport.

Professor Leszek Sibilski from the United States led a grassroots campaign with his sociology class to promote a UN Resolution for World Bicycle Day, eventually gaining the support of Turkmenistan and 56 other countries.   

World Bicycle Day is a global event meant to be enjoyed by all people regardless of any characteristic. The bicycle as a symbol of human progress and advancement promotes tolerance, mutual understanding and respect and facilitates social inclusion and a culture of peace. The bicycle further is a symbol of sustainable transport and conveys a positive message to foster sustainable consumption and production, and has a positive impact on climate.

World Bicycle Day is now being associated with promoting a healthy lifestyle for those with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.  

In Tanzania, bicycle poverty reduction is the concept that access to bicycles and the transportation infrastructure to support them can dramatically reduce poverty.  This has been demonstrated in various pilot projects in South Asia and Africa.  Experiments done in Africa  namely Uganda and Tanzania  and Sri Lanka on hundreds of households have shown that a bicycle can increase the income of a poor family by as much as 35 per cent.  Transport, if analysed for the cost–benefit analysis for rural poverty alleviation, has given one of the best returns in this regard. For example, road investments in India were a staggering 3–10 times more effective than almost all other investments and subsidies in rural economy in the decade of the 1990s. What a road does at a macro level to increase transport, the bicycle supports at the micro level. The bicycle, in that sense, can be one of the best means to eradicate poverty in poor nations.

In the same vein, boda bodas are bicycle and motorcycle taxis commonly found in East Africa. While motorcycle taxis like boda bodas are present throughout Africa and beyond, the term boda boda is specific to East Africa.  In Kenya, they are more frequently called piki pikis.  

So, Where did the popular Uganda boda bodas come from? The name 'boda boda' is synonymous to cycle taxis  both motorised and bicycles  in many parts of East Africa, especially Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.  In Rwanda they are called  motos . It originated from the small border town of Busia as a means of transport to the Kenyan border.

Their ubiquitous presence in East African cities is the result of a number of factors including an increasing demand for public transit,  the ability to purchase motorcycles on credit,  and an influx of cheap imports from Indian manufacturers like Bajaj.  In the countries where they are present, boda bodas can provide transportation options to riders and job opportunities to drivers while at the same time resulting in an increase in road hazards and collisions and unnecessary injuries and deaths.  

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