According to the Institute for Transport and Development Policy (ITDP) Report Making the Economic Case for Cycling 2022The total cost of purchasing, operating, maintaining, fueling and insuring a bicycle is approximately $3.00 per 100 km ridden. A private car is 6 times more expensive, around $18.00 per 100 km. ITDP is a global organization that uses its technical expertise, direct advocacy and policy leadership in programs aimed at mitigating the impacts of climate change, improving air quality and promoting prosperous, sustainable and equitable cities.
The report highlights the fact that bicycles are already widely available in most areas around the world and therefore represent an immediate solution to several problems around the world, such as saving congestion costs and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by reducing car travel. Infrastructure to support cycling can also be built very quickly and at a much lower cost than the infrastructure required for an ever-expanding fleet of larger vehicles.
Given the current demand and supply constraints for new electric vehicles in the major markets for larger vehicles, the supply of affordable zero-emission vehicles in large quantities in Africa could be a key challenge, as the major OEMs would naturally favor the larger traditional markets over those in Africa , which generally has a low degree of motorization. The large investment required for the large-scale rollout of programs supporting EV charging networks, especially for Level 3 charging, could also mean that the accelerated rollout of such infrastructure could take some time. Accelerating the introduction of cycling in urban centers can therefore help reduce harmful emissions that threaten human health. Increased use of bicycles will help slow down the negative effects of climate change in many parts of the world much faster than the most ambitious increase in the supply of larger vehicles given the previously mentioned supply constraints.
E-bikes can be adequate for many people’s daily needs if the right conditions and supporting infrastructure are in place. For example, the average driving distance in Harare is only 15 km, according to CPCS Transcom International Limited Zimbabwe National Transport Master Plan, Final Report (2017). Current traffic chaos in Zimbabwe’s major cities due to lack of adequate public transport options such as minibus taxis (known locally as Kombis), limited number of buses as well as limited routes served by the current transport fleet. capacity buses, represents a great opportunity for new forms of transport solutions.
The current wave of skyrocketing fuel prices also means there has never been a better time for commuters in Harare to embrace cycling. However, key concerns remain. These include:
- Very few dedicated cycle paths and supporting infrastructure
- Aggressive and unfriendly driving style of drivers of larger vehicles, which creates an intimidating atmosphere for cyclists
- Safety at night due to lack of adequate street lighting
The ITDP report also states that a new car costs more than the average annual household income in most parts of the world, while bicycles and even electric bikes (e-bikes) cost less than 6% of annual income to buy. This means that it should be much easier for people to switch to cycling than it is to buy their first car or even upgrade from an existing one. We just need to make cycling more fashionable and also provide an environment where people feel it is safe for them to cycle.
Another key conclusion of the report is that while significant investment would be needed to provide physical infrastructure to make cycling and walking safer and more attractive for more people, the mass adoption of cycling would generate significant cost savings and returns through improved health outcomes. and also manage local economic development. Cycling-related industries create job creation opportunities in the manufacturing and retailing of bicycles and parts, including sales, repairs and other related services, including shared micromobility and bicycle tourism schemes.
Realizing the full potential of benefits would require a well-coordinated approach involving a wide range of stakeholders including national, provincial, local governments and city councils, development finance institutions, non-governmental organizations and donor agencies, and the wider private sector. can be derived from the mass adoption of cycling. To kick off this conversation in Harare, Zimbabwe, the City of Harare hosted a roundtable on “The Future of Cycling in Harare” last month as part of the Harare Bike Day programme.
The roundtable was organized in collaboration with various stakeholders promoting cycling in the city. Is part of them:
- World cycling relief
- Buffalo Bicycles
- JM Bush54
- A safe road in Zimbabwe
- City of Munich (Landeshauptstadt München)
- German development agency GIZ
- Netherlands Embassy
Several key stakeholders were also present at the roundtable. These included Kuva, Safeguard and several other technology companies. The roundtable was well attended by key organizations in advertising, bicycle-dependent businesses, environmental, finance, health, logistics, mapping and smart technology businesses, as well as Harare’s cycling-enthusiastic citizens.
The round table meeting was held in the Chambers Room of the Harare City Council Town Hall. The meeting was moderated by Judith Mujegu, Harare City’s Acting Town Planner. One of the speakers, Jenna Hutchings, summarized some of the key benefits of cycling: “Cycling is essential for physical health, mental health and vitality, providing regular exercise and time for yourself (while saving the planet)”.
Jenna Hutchings, a citizen of Harare, in her presentation titled “Co-creating a sustainable Harare” focused on the importance of bicycles for a fair transport system and a circular economy, where the bicycle is the perfect tool to directly and indirectly target the goals of sustainable development. The protection of the natural environment should be addressed together and this can be achieved by mapping existing routes while taking into account sensitive ecosystems to be incorporated into the design of extended active mobility routes with a strengthened public transport system.
Sam Nyaude of the Road Safe Zimbabwe Trust gave a presentation on the Global Road Safety Decade of Action and highlighted that cycling infrastructure has been overlooked in urban planning in our larger cities where routes are prioritized for cars rather than people. This focus is dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians as the roads are less accessible for these users. Feedback from all participants was positive, with a clear will to change the status quo through a coordinated approach.
Some of the other notable takeaways were:
- The City of Harare wants to create a cycling plan for the city.
- The city cooperates with the city of Munich.
- The pilots are considering students at the University of Zimbabwe and Mt Pleasant High School, both in the Mt Pleasant area of Harare.
- Critical need to map potential routes for bike lanes and trails. One of the low-hanging fruits is to focus on places where large groups of people are already making their way through pastures and other areas, which shows where the demand is.
Starting a conversation is always a good start. It is good to see that some pilot projects are already being explored. I am a big fan of micromobility and will be watching this development closely.
Do you appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality and reporting? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica member, supporter, technician or ambassador – or a patron on Patreon.