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UN General Assembly unanimously adopts resolution to promote bicycles to fight climate change

— General Assembly hears that cycling too often treated as a sport rather than transport.

The United Nations General Assembly has unanimously adopted a resolution calling on the mainstream use of bicycles and for cycling to be integrated into public transportation systems.

The UN said that General Assembly, which has 193 members, adopted the resolution by consensus.

The motion was passed after its proposal by the representative of Turkmenistan, which is ruled by dictator Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow who is famed for having a fascination with cycling. Berdimuhamedow, who is due to hand over power to his son this week, oversees a resource-rich country, but most residents have poor living standards.

According to the UN, the representative of Turkmenistan, Aksoltan Ataýewa, introduced the resolution to: “Integration of mainstream bicycling into public transportation systems for sustainable development” (document A/76/L.35) and highlighted the broad regional support for the resolution, including from 50 Member States.  The bicycle was invented 200 years ago and for 140 years has been a major mode of transportation, with 1 billion bicycles worldwide and 50 per cent of humanity able to access cycling.”

The UN’s communications team said that she cited convenience, health benefits and accessibility, and voiced hope that cycling will take on a larger role, as it also helps to cut greenhouse gases worldwide. 

The UN said that she said that many developing countries still face difficulties in this domain, with the bicycle still seen as a form of sport rather than transport and said that this must change especially in context of the pandemic, which has altered transport needs and behaviours.

Ataýewa called on Member States to support and accompany cycling initiatives by promoting increased road safety and investment in urban infrastructure, advancing cross-cutting strategies and including such initiatives in public policy.

On the regulation, the UN said: “The General Assembly, among other things, invited all Member States to integrate the bicycle into public transportation in urban and rural settings in developing and developed countries, improve road safety and promote the use of bicycles by people and businesses to increase bicycle trips which, in turn, contributes to the achievement of sustainable development, including the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.”

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