UN celebrates International World Bicycle Day

  • 1 month ago
 International World Bicycle Day
Amid pandemic, cycling is a great way to move around and stay safe.
Today, 3rd June has been designated as International World Bicycle Day (WBD) by the United Nations.
In 2015, Professor Leszek Sibilski of the United States embarked on an academic project to explore the role of bicycles in development thereby leading a grassroots campaign with his Sociology class to promote a UN Resolution for WBD.
And finally on April 2018, the UN General Assembly declared a resolution for WBD to show that the bicycle belongs to and serves all of humanity. The UN recognizes ‘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.’
According to UN, the WBD is a global holiday to be enjoyed by all people regardless of any characteristic. The bicycle is seen as ‘a symbol of human progress and advancement, it promotes tolerance, mutual understanding and respect and facilitates social inclusion and a culture of peace’. The bicycle further serves as a ‘symbol of sustainable transport and conveys a positive message to foster sustainable consumption and production, and has a positive impact on climate.’
On the health front, WBD is now being associated with promoting a healthy lifestyle for those with Type 1 and Type 2.
The COVID-19 pandemic has limited our movement and activities. Recreational sports around the world have been thrown into a deep freeze, shuttering everything from tennis clubs to weekend football leagues. But one diversion that remains pandemic-approved by WHO is cycling both as a mode of transport and as a way of staying healthy during the global crisis.
WBD is a good time to take stock of the benefits of the bicycle both for staying healthy and as a sustainable mode of transport during (and after) the global crisis.
Many governments are looking for ways to ease lockdown measures while providing recreational opportunities to people living in cities. With the current need to maintain physical distances, bicycle use has gained popularity and filled the gap left by limitations on public transport.
Bikes are an affordable, reliable, clean and environmentally friendly means of transportation and are being recognized as a key component of post COVID-19 ‘green recovery’. And as cycles are excellent for the environment, they do not have any air-borne pollutants, fumes, and greenhouse gases.
Cycling contributes to healthy, livable cities as it not only prevents pollution, but also keeps people physically active.
On this WBD, the UN encourages governments to improve road safety and better integrate the needs of cyclists into the design of transport infrastructure. Measures to safeguard pedestrians and cyclists are a key part of building the urban spaces of tomorrow.
UNEP’s Share the Road Programme helps governments and stakeholders in developing countries to move away from prioritizing the car-driving minority and towards investing in infrastructure for the majority: those who walk and cycle. Millions of people around the world use a bicycle as their primary means of transportation, either as choice riders or captive riders. For the latter, it is essential that their needs are better incorporated into policy and transport infrastructure investments.
WBD is a celebration of this instrument of zero emissions mobility and connectivity.  It is an opportunity to come together to maximize the potential of the bicycle.
Finally, some bicycle trivia:
  • It was in the 19th century when Karl von Drais, a German Baron invented the precursor of the modern bicycle that we use today.
  • The term bicycle wasn't introduced until the 1860s. The word 'bicycle' has been derived from the French word 'bicyclette'. Prior to this, bicycles were known as velocipedes. 
  • Wright brothers who invented the first airplane ran a small bicycle repair workshop. 
  • During the 1800s, bicycles were first brought to China and today more than a half a billion of the country's population uses bicycles.
  • 40 percent of all commuters in Amsterdam use a bicycle to go to work – the highest in the world
  • Every year over 100 million bicycles are manufactured
  • The blue and white #WorldBicycleDay logo was designed by Isaac Feld and the accompanying animation was done by Professor John E. Swanson.