Students get bicycles for transport

• By Michael Uugwanga

THE City of Windhoek, in partnership with Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GiZ), EBIKES4AFRICA, Namibia Road Safety Forum, Physically Active Youth, Motor Vehicle Accident Fund (MVA) and Namibian Cycling Federation (NCF) handed over bicycles to 47 students from Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST), International University of Management (IUM) and the University of Namibia (UNAM).

The handing over of the bicycles was held at the Katutura Youth Centre over the past weekend.

Speaking at the ceremony, deputy mayor of the City of Windhoek, councillor Joseph Uapingene said that the municipality is busy constructing cycling infrastructure of approximately 4 km stretching from Shanghai Street in Katutura to the NUST Main Campus, aimed at providing safe, convenient, and comfortable access for cyclers on the road.

“We therefore urge you to please make use of this cycling route. Looking to the future, it is clear that private cars and taxis are rapidly increasing in number that soon the roads will be completely congested or gridlocked.

“Therefore, dear students, remember that today as you are receiving your bicycles, you are actually pioneers, as part of the first group of persons who will begin and will help us as the City of Windhoek to develop our cycling culture. Go out there and show others that cycling is not just a sport, but it is also a mode of transport. You are leaders and others will follow,” said Uapingene.

It was for this reason that in 2012, the City of Windhoek in collaboration with the Ministry of Works and Transport with the support and funding from the GIZ, embarked on the process of developing a Sustainable Urban Transport Master Plan (SUTMP) for Windhoek under the ‘Move Windhoek’ project.

Uapingene said that the city also wants to keep up with modern city trends around the world, which are using bicycles also as a means of transport.

“Following the launch of the Master Plan, the City of Windhoek developed a non-motorised transport strategy, which was approved by council in May 2019. Investing in non-motorised transport infrastructure is now one of the city’s efforts to make economic opportunities more accessible to middle-low income residents, and reduce the noticeable peak-hour congestion, accidents, pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions associated with cars.

“We are building new systems that are for people rather than for cars. This programme is one of our many efforts to ensure that cycling is promoted as a mode of transport that has positive effects on the future of the city,” he said.