Sunday June 3rd marks the very first official United Nations World Bicycle Day. This is a big day in the history of the bicycle. For the UN to bestow an 'International Day' tag on anything is quite a moment. In this case it's especially significant.
Here's what the United Nations itself has to say about the benefits of bikes that have led to its decision and why it's so important to celebrate our beloved bicycle:
- The bicycle is a simple, affordable, reliable, clean and environmentally fit sustainable means of transportation;
- The bicycle can serve as a tool for development and as a means not just of transportation but also of access to education, health care and sport;
- The synergy between the bicycle and the user fosters creativity and social engagement and gives the user an immediate awareness of the local environment;
- The bicycle is a symbol of sustainable transportation and conveys a positive message to foster sustainable consumption and production, and has a positive impact on climate.
To paraphrase: the bicycle rocks. As cyclists, we all knew that already. And yet so often, like with many familiar things that work simply, effortlessly, brilliantly - we take it for granted.
We salute the good folk of the UN for creating World Bicycle Day
The UN explains more about why World Bicycle Day is happening and the UN General Assembly's attitude towards cycling generally:
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 environmentally fit sustainable means of transportation, fostering environmental stewardship and health, the General Assembly decided to declare 3 June World Bicycle Day.
It encouraged stakeholders to emphasize and advance the use of the bicycle as a means of fostering sustainable development, strengthening education, including physical education, for children and young people, promoting health, preventing disease, promoting tolerance, mutual understanding and respect and facilitating social inclusion and a culture of peace.
The Assembly welcomed initiatives to organize bicycle rides at the national and local levels as a means of strengthening physical and mental health and well-being and developing a culture of cycling in society.
The UN goes further still in its official blurb, encouraging its member states (and there are plenty of them!) to make the bicycle integral to their development strategies, mobility plans, transport infrastructure planning and design.
... respect, social inclusion and a culture of peace
They celebrate the importance of the bicycle in sustainability, education, physical education, health, disease prevention, tolerance, mutual understanding, respect, social inclusion and a culture of peace.
And finally, they push the promotion of cycling across society, including organised rides which they say lead to better physical and mental health and ultimately to 'a culture of cycling in society'.
Yes, much of what they say is unsurprising to those of us who appreciate the joys and benefits of cycling. But it is spot on and to hear it from such a respected global body is inspirational.
We salute the good folk of the UN for creating World Bicycle Day and we hope it becomes an annual reminder to the world of the role that cycling can have in creating a better world.
To find out more about World Bicycle Day, click here.
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