June 3rd, 2018 is the first World Bicycle Day, and the world is a wildly different place compared to the early years of the bicycle. As technology, science, and innovations have evolved since the first rudimentary bike was created over 200 years ago, there have been numerous warnings about how these advances impact the earth and its inhabitants, as well as our ability to sustain this growth without causing irreversible harm.
There are daily observances and steps taken to encourage sustainability, such as the promotion of recycling, the increased use of email over paper printed mail, companies and residences using solar powered energy over nuclear powered electricity, and the utilization of electric cars over gas powered ones. The UN has been a long-standing promoter of the idea of sustainability and encourages the use of sustainable resources. In September 2015, the UN adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals, called Envision 2030.
World Bicycle Day was first proposed because it acknowledged that 11 of the 17 Envision 2030 goals were in some way directly linked to cycling – a significant figure for something often considered a sport or hobby. But for those of us who know the profound joy, thrill, and benefits the bike brings, it may come as no surprise that the bicycle can help change the world.
The Envision 2030 Goals that Bikes Help Solve:
- No Poverty
- Zero Hunger
- Good Health and Well-Being
- Gender Equality
- Affordable and Clean Energy
- Decent Work and Economy Growth
- Industry, Innovation, Infrastructure
- Sustainable Cities and Communities
- Responsible Consumption and Production
- Climate Action
- Partnership for the Goals
How Does the Bicycle Help Achieve These Goals?
For many, cycling is the only affordable mode of technical transportation. It can cut a commute in half and thereby provide access to more jobs, markets, community activities and essential services like schools and hospitals. The bicycle industry itself has the potential for economic growth by creating jobs across the globe. In addition, cyclists also promote change in infrastructure, which in turn adds job creation and creates a transport system that’s affordable and accessible to everyone.
From a health perspective, the bicycle doesn’t pollute the air and provides the physical activity needed to reduce heart diseases and other health issues related to a sedentary lifestyle. Ultimately, the bicycle can have an immediate impact on climate change – we just need more people like you on bikes.
Now that a date for the first World Bike Day is set for June 3rd, 2018, how do we bike enthusiasts spread the love moving forward? This will be a challenge, since the bicycle has taken a backseat to so many other forms of transportation. Yet, it could help solve so many of the world’s problems.
For those who want to make a difference, here’s a few ways you can start:
- Get a bike and start riding
- Use your bike to commute to work & school
- Extend a warm invitation to others to do the same
- Be informative about all the benefits of cycling
- Get involved in your community
- Vote for those who support improving cycling infrastructure
We’d love to hear from you! How has a bicycle changed you? How has it benefited you?
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