Saturday, 16 January 2021

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Cycling as a sustainable means of transportation

 brussels world bicycle day

World Bicycle Day celebrates the bicycle as a simple, affordable, reliable, clean and environmentally fit method of transport, with an important role to play in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals.

On Sunday, Brussels jointly celebrated #WorldEnvironmentDay and #WorldBicycleDay at the Parc du Cinquantenaire | Jubelpark, with animations and activities to inspire sustainable living and modes of transport.

brussels environment celebrations jubilee parc

The bicycle took centre stage at this year’s celebrations. In just over a month Brussels hosts the opening stage of the Tour de France, kicking off the world’s most famous cycling race. Ahead of the race, amateurs also get a chance to race the streets of Brussels during the 16 June BXL Tour, to which some UN start will race as part of the SDG Cycling Team. Both events are an opportunity for the city of Brussels to showcase the bicycle as a symbol of sustainable transportation with a positive impact on climate and health.

brussels environment cycling celebrations

Bicycles are simple, durable and are easy and cheap to repair. They are not just a means of transportation but also of access to education, health care and sport.

Cycling is increasingly put forward as having a number of health benefits, from lowering the risk of heart disease to a reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes, it also helps keep off the extra weight. Cycling to work can even help get your day off to a better start. Those who commute to work on their bike generally arrive in a better mood and with a lower level of stress than those who took the car.

Globally, bicycle use is on the rise: there are already more than two billion bikes in use around the world, with this number predicted to rise to five billion by 2050.


As a mode of transport and healthy everyday activity, cycling can play a significant role in achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The World Cycling Alliance has calculated* that cycling is directly linked to delivering on 11 of the Goals.

  • It is an affordable and simple mode of transport enabling access to education, jobs, markets, and community activities in both urban and rural areas. (SDG1)
  • Cycling allows for better access to food markets and communities. (SDG2)
  • It generates beneficial health effects due to decreased air pollution emissions, decreased greenhouse gas emissions and increased levels of physical activity. (SDG3)
  • It improves access for women and girls to water, schools, markets and jobs that may otherwise be inaccessible through available transport means. (SDG5)
  • As an energy efficient form of transport, it uses renewable human power in the most efficient way, and e-cycling offers access to the use of efficient e-mobility technology. (SDG7)
  • The cycling sector creates more jobs for the same turnover than any other transport sector. (SDG8)
  • Increased numbers of cyclists make it easier for governments to build resilient infrastructure and sustainable transport systems for economic development and human well-being. (SDG9)
  • Cycling is an efficient way of using expensive and scarce space in urban areas, making settlements more inclusive, safe, and sustainable, as a healthy, clean and cheap mode of transport. (SDG11)
  • The transportation of people and goods by bicycle matches perfectly with the diversity and scale of regional and local economies. (SDG12)
  • Environmentally, it is a symbol for decarbonizing transport and societies; it offers the possibility for immediate climate action. Governments at all levels can take action by integrating cycling into their climate action policies, strategies, eduation and awareness-raising (SDG13)
  • Finally, the participation of all actors involved in the cycling movement supports the global partnership for sustainable development. (SDG17)


Additional links:

World Bicycle Day

World Environment Day

World Cycling Alliance 

European Cyclists' Federation - Publication: “Cycling Delivers on the Global Goals – Shifting towards a better economy, society, and planet for all” 

*Copyright and credits to the European Cyclists’ Federation’s publication: “Cycling Delivers on the Global Goals – Shifting towards a better economy, society, and planet for all”

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