The United Nations celebrated the first World Bicycle Day on Sunday, June 3 with a special event at the UN General Assembly in New York City.
Formally adopted by the UN earlier this year, the Turkmenistan Permanent Mission to the United Nations sponsored the adoption of World Bicycle Day. Through their stewardship, 193 member states reached consensus to sign the resolution.
At World Bicycle Relief, we strongly believe, as stated in the UN resolution, “the bicycle can serve as a tool for development and as a means not just of transportation but also of access to education and healthcare.”
World Bicycle Relief also shares the vision for “the potential of the bicycle to contribute to the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals, including the Sustainable Development Goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda,” as affirmed in the resolution.
UN officials, diplomats, athletes, advocates of the cycling community spoke at the inaugural event in New York, sharing the many ways bicycles serve the people who ride them.
World Bicycle Relief CEO Dave Neiswander and Zambian student Teddy Nosiku addressed the group, as well.
“In developing countries, a quality bicycle can create transformational impact through last mile mobility,” said Neiswander. “Quantitative evidence demonstrates that a quality bicycle, coupled with holistic programming, creates catalytic, sustainable and empowering change.”
Teddy, who recently completed high school in Connecticut after coming to the U.S. from Zambia just over a year ago, also shared his perspective on bicycles.”Growing up in Zambia, I can tell you that a bicycle can change a life,” Teddy said. “I had to walk very long distances to get to school, taking much time, and leaving us tired and worn out. … Providing a bicycle to a student for education is a blessing because the education you are giving them, they keep forever and they will help change their community and the world.”
“More than a billion people do not have access to paved roads. Mobility is a privilege. It is incumbent for all of us to recognize that cycling is a powerful form of mobility,” said Dr. Nancy Vandycke, program manager at the World Bank.
“I don’t ride a bike to add days to my life. I ride a bike to add life to my days,” said Charles Catherine, a blind para-cyclist from France.
World Bicycle Day catalyst and WBR supporter Dr. Leszek Sibilski also addressed the group. He was joined by his students from Montgomery College, who, along with Sibilski, campaigned for the UN observance.
It was such an honor to be involved in the inaugural World Bicycle Day and gather inspiration from cycling advocates from around the globe!