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General News of Friday, 13 December 2019

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Campaign to promote road cycling lanes launched


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A campaign to promote the construction of specially protected cycling lanes on existing and new roads, taking into account the needs of all non-motorised road users, has been launched in Accra.

The initiative is dubbed: “Share the Road Campaign: Creating a Shared Space for Inclusive Mobility through Improved Road Infrastructure” and is directed at creating a smart mobility system that improves connectivity, contributes to drastic decarbonisation and creates a climate-smart environment for sustainable development.

At the launch in Accra last Thursday, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative, Ms Bernice Dapaah, who is also the initiator of the project, said “cycling is widely known to contribute to a sustainable lifestyle and is one of the surest ways of driving down carbon emissions apart from the advantage of being affordable”.

According to her, for cycling to gain a foothold in the country, a lot had to change in road infrastructure and attitude, pointing out that “change must start from somewhere and this is the time for the needed change in the way cycling is viewed in Ghana”.

She said the privileged position of bicycles in the history of human mobility had eroded in the country, particularly in the urban centres due to the premium value placed on automobiles plus the comfort and prestige that came with it.

Ms Dapaah noted that a lot could be said, however, in favour of cycling over automobile vehicles, stating that “bicycles are a cheap and active form of mobility that are non-polluting and greatly enhance cardiovascular health”.

She said getting people to understand the need for a shared road would require a rigorous educational campaign by all relevant stakeholders.

“It is exciting to see the initial steps the government is taking regarding inclusive road infrastructure. We know this will require continuous education and a range of activities to make cycling popular, yet we’re more than ready to push through,” Ms Dapaah explained.

Ms Dapaah said the campaign was being undertaken in partnership with the Netherlands Embassy, British High Commission, Colombia Embassy, Ministry of Roads and Highways, Ministry of Transport, National Road Safety Authority, Greenway International, Renee LLC and Ghana Institute of Engineers.

She said: “Achieving this ambitious move requires a mindful approach to safety in order to foster a positive climate for cycling and other forms of active transport.”

According to her, creating specially protected cycling lanes on existing and new roads would reduce road vulnerabilities in the country.

She said there were many problems that modern cities were facing, ranging from climate change to traffic congestion to runaway pollution, requiring that conscious efforts were made to engineer smart cities that ‘share the road’ as that would help improve the quality of urban and peri-urban life and reduce the cost of transportation.

The Netherlands Ambassador, Mr Ron Strikker; the British High Commissioner, Mr Iain Walker, and Colombia Ambassador, Claudia Turbay, pledged their support for the campaign.

The Deputy Minister of Roads and Highways, Mr Anthony Karbo, for his part said “this campaign is a great initiative but should be matched by a change in attitudes at all levels”.

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