Bicycles to be used by community-based organisations
Western Cape Minister of Transport and Public Works Bonginkosi Madikizela handed 20 bicycles over to the Open Streets organisation yesterday. The handover is part of the Provincial Sustainable Transport Programme (PSTP) of the Department of Transport and Public Works. Open Streets, a non-profit organisation based in Woodstock whose goal is to increase the use of public and non-motorised transport, will distribute the bicycles to local community-based organisations (CBOs).
This will help to give effect to the PSTP’s citizen-centric promotion of non-motorised, environmentally friendly transport. The PSTP also assists municipalities to plan infrastructure improvements such as sidewalks, bicycle lanes, traffic calming and safe crossings to better protect vulnerable road users.
Providing a bicycle to each of 20 CBOs will reduce the transport barriers they face so that they can maximise their reach and better meet the needs of the people they serve. In communities where the majority of the population can barely afford to use taxis, bicycles are a more efficient of travelling than walking to deliver essential community services. Bicycles and other forms of non-motorised transport also have the environmental benefit of travel without carbon emissions.
Open Streets will distribute one bicycle to a CBO volunteer engaged in delivering services in each of 20 different communities. This person will be a champion for people using bicycles. These volunteers will be tracked and will have to keep a bicycle diary to capture their experiences. The data from these diaries will be collected and used to promote cycling in urban environments.
“We are joined today by all our partners to promote and advocate for non-motorised transport to use in the city”, said Minister Madikizela at the handover event. “We are looking to decrease carbon emissions. I think bicycles are easily accessible modes of transport, especially for our communities. We as government should look at how we design and plan our communities, to make bicycle lanes part of our planning to promote the use of non-motorised transport”, he added.
The Department started distributing bicycles in November 2020 in partnership with the Bicycle Consortium (Qhubeka, Pedal Power Association and Ben Bikes). The aim was to assist communities to deliver essential services during the National State of Disaster by distributing up to 400 bicycles to CBOs in the six Western and Southern COVID-19 hotspot areas of the Western Cape: Atlantis, Dunoon, Langa, Grassy Park and surroundings, Masiphumelele, and Retreat.