UN-Habitat, in collaboration with the Institute for Transport and Development Policy and Critical Mass Nairobi, recently organized a bike ride for government officials in Kenya.
The event aimed to inspire leaders to recognize cycling as an appropriate mode of mobility for the capital as well as equip them with an understanding of the challenges and opportunities for cyclists.
The hike brought together around thirty people who cycled together on an 8 km section to discover the existing cycle paths. The event was led by Charles Hinga, Principal Secretary, State Department of Housing and Urban Development, Ministry of Transportation, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development and Public Works, with participation from various other government agencies , including Nairobi Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (NaMATA), Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA), Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) and Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS).
Cycling on Ngong Road, Kilimani Ring Road and Dennis Pritt Road observed good and stimulating cycle lane designs which state actors noted for action at policy and regulatory levels.
The bike ride was followed by a workshop at Hotel Serena, during which participants were invited to share their thoughts. “The cycling experience has been very refreshing and I have to say I’m a convert now. It’s a really convenient way to have that conversation, rather than just sitting in conference rooms, because today we experimented with different cycling designs. Now that we’ve experienced the designs first hand, we can go do a design review – and really engage,” Hinga shared.
Vincent Kitio, Urban Basic Services Section, UN-Habitat, pointed out that “there are a large number of people walking in Nairobi and cycling could make it easier for many of them to reach their destination. , for example schools or workplaces”.
The event provided a platform where local cyclists had the chance to meet decision makers, resulting in some exciting conversations. Cyprine Mitchell, founder of Critical Mass Nairobi, stressed to policy makers that “when you wear a shoe, you know where it pinches. When you design a road and don’t experience the road as the end user will experience it, you will never understand the challenges the end user is really facing.
The government has urged UN-Habitat and its partners to further engage in sustainable urban mobility in urban areas of Kenya and has also pledged to endorse the street design manual for urban areas in Kenya in January of the year. ‘next year.
“Change is inevitable, and I foresee Nairobi and other large urban areas being cycle cities. I am your champion!” Hinga concluded his remarks.
With the support of the Growing Smarter and Urban Pathways projects supported by the International Climate Initiative, UN-Habitat advocates for the decongestion of cities by promoting walking and cycling as attractive, safe and inclusive forms of mobility.
During the workshop, all participants recognized the lack of non-motorized transport infrastructure and the low safety of cyclists. They all agreed that the government should make pedestrian and cycle lines mandatory on all roads (existing, unbuilt and future).
Distributed by APO Group for UN Habitat.