A bicycle for every citizen in Egypt

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An Egyptian man carries bread as he rides his bicycle in downtown Cairo on December 1, 2016. / AFP / KHALED DESOUKI (Photo credit should read KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images)
An Egyptian man carries bread as he rides his bicycle in downtown Cairo on December 1, 2016. / AFP / KHALED DESOUKI (Photo credit should read KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Egyptian government is planning to promote cycling in an effort to cut down on pollution and encourage healthier lifestyles.

A statement from the government said its “bicycle for every citizen” initiative would give people the chance to buy bikes at affordable prices – lower than the market rate.

The scheme is scheduled to be launched in the Egyptian capital Cairo before spreading to the rest of the country.

Increasing fuel and transportation costs may tempt commuters to consider cheaper options but there are fears Cairo’s heat and unruly traffic might put some off switching to a bike.

According to UN Environment’s Global Report on walking and cycling published in 2016, up to 60 per cent of city trips are made by bike in Chinese cities while in African cities the share is closer to 5 per cent.

Urban population in developing nations is projected to continue to grow, adding 2.5 billion people to the world’s cities by 2050, with nearly 90 per cent of the increase concentrated in Asia and Africa. By then, more than half of the world’s population will live in cities.

According to the UN Environment a major step to managing rapid urbanization, reducing poverty and addressing equity and environmental issues among urban residents is to meet their needs for access to services and opportunities.

Walking and cycling are more than low-carbon modes of transport that enhance urban quality and facilitate social cohesion. They are cheap, flexible, personal modes without which most people in low- and middle-income countries would be unable to participate in the economy and community, or access education, healthcare and other urban services.

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