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UN-Habitat and partners give Kenyan government officials real life bicycling experience

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UN-Habitat and partners give Kenyan government officials real life bicycling experience

During the workshop, all participants recognized the lack of non-motorized transport infrastructure and the lack of safety for cyclists.

NAIROBI, Kenya, January 13, 2022/APO Group/ —

UN-Habitat, in collaboration with the Institute for Transport and Development Policy and Critical Mass Nairobi, recently organized a bike ride for Kenyan government officials.

The event aimed to inspire officials to recognize cycling as a suitable mobility mode for the capital city, as well as provide them with an understanding of the challenges and opportunities for cyclists.

The ride brought together about 30 people who cycled together on a 8 km stretch to experience the existing bike paths. The event was led by Charles Hinga, Principal Secretary, Department of State for Housing and Urban Development, Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development and Public Works, with the assistance of several other government agencies, including the Area Transport Authority Nairobi Metropolitan Authority (NaMATA), the Kenya Urban Highways Authority (KURA), the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) and the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS).

Cycling on Ngong Road, Kilimani Ring Road and Dennis Pritt Road saw good and challenging bike lane designs that state actors flagged for action at the policy and regulatory level.

The bike ride was followed by a workshop at Hotel Serena, in which participants were invited to share reflections. “The cycling experience was very refreshing, and I must say that I am now a convert. It’s a very practical way to have this conversation, instead of just sitting in boardrooms because we’ve been experimenting with different bike designs today. Now that we’ve experienced the designs firsthand, we can go and do a design review, and really make a commitment,” Hinga shared.

Vincent Kitio, Urban Basic Services Section, UN-Habitat emphasized 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 opportunity to meet decision makers, resulting in some interesting conversations. Cyprine Mitchell, founder of Critical Mass Nairobi, emphasized to policymakers that “when you wear a shoe, you know where it squeezes. When you design a road and you don’t experience the road the way the end user will experience it, you’ll never be able to understand the challenges the end user actually faces.”

The government urged UN-Habitat and its partners to become more involved in sustainable urban mobility in Kenya’s urban areas and also committed to endorsing the Street Design Manual for Urban Areas in Kenya in January next year.

“Change is inevitable, and I envision Nairobi and other major urban areas as cycling cities. I am your champion!” Hinga concluded her comments.

With the support of the International Climate Initiative’s Growing Smarter and Urban Pathways projects, UN-Habitat advocates to decongest 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 lack of safety for cyclists. They all agreed that the government should make pedestrian and cycle lanes mandatory for all roads (existing, under construction and future roads).

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