Rember us when planning, cyclists and pedestrians tell government
Cyclists in red took to the streets of Nairobi on Valentine’s day to call on the government to include pedestrian and cycling lanes when planning and designing roads in Kenya.
The call for a policy which will prioritize the safety of all, on Kenyan roads, as well as encourage green solutions to climate change was widely discussed and supported by Kenyans from all walks of life in various social platforms through the hashtag #MyLane2.
The cyclists who were 14 in number, covered 14 kilometres, on 14th of February 2020, and tracked their unique cycling loop using a GPS enabled social fitness app called Strava.
They kicked off the event at Uhuru Park, Nairobi, before making their way to the Central Business District, via Haile Selassie Avenue and Parliament road, then they proceeded to an open field off Ngong road near Ngong racecourse.
They then virtually and physically drew a stunning love-heart shape using Strava and their bicycles respectively, to create the splendid shape, a symbol of a campaign which they say love alone is not enough, sharing the road is kind but will not guarantee the safety of those who rely on non-motorised-transport for mobility.
“Please give us love and give us safe cycling spaces by having a Non-Motorised Transport legislation in place. Cycling is alive and thriving, but we need our policymakers and road agencies to open their eyes and see what people are showing them, their ears and hear what people are saying. Bicycles are a solution to so many problems this city and its residents are experiencing. To get more people to cycle we need safe non-motorised transport systems,” said Cyprine Odada – Urban Planner and Cycling Advocate, Critical Mass Nairobi.
According to experts most roads in Kenya don’t have infrastructure provisions for pedestrians and cyclists while most cities and towns are characterized by car-dominated, unsustainable and unhealthy infrastructure.
With traffic as one of the biggest contributors to air pollution, they say it is important to have sustainable transport systems that help cut down on emissions and which encourage green transport solutions like cycling and walking.
This, however, can not be achieved if there is no legislation in place to guide the planning, adoption and implementation of inclusive and safe road infrastructure.
“How do we expect people to embrace Non-Motorized Transport when walking and cycling are death traps on our Kenyan roads? Is it our urban planning policy, or do we need a holistic national non-motorised transport legislation?
This prioritization is one of the gateways towards a New Deal for Nature and People where duty bearers support and adopt nature-based solutions that are good for nature and people in cities and the rural areas.
If we don’t include pedestrians and cyclists in our planning we will have deliberately, left them out, failed the future generation and contributed to their suffering.” Nancy Githaiga – Policy Research and Innovation Manager, WWF-Kenya
According to the World Bank, 70% of Kenyans walk or take matatus to work while seven out of 10 people in Nairobi walk or take a matatu to work.
Most people interviewed would want to use their bikes or walk, but are usually unable to do so without risking their safety. The buck they say stop with planners and government who should commit through a policy to design in the safety of all road users, instead of prioritising vehicles above all else.
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