Tuesday, June 18, 2024

State urged to improve cycling safety on roads

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By Benedict Tembo

The Zambia Road Safety Trust (ZRST) has urged government to take action to improve cycling safety on the nation’s roads.
A strong advocate for safer cycling roads, ZRST is calling on the government to invest in cycling infrastructure and improve road safety measures to save the lives of cyclists.

Cycling is an inexpensive, simple, and eco-friendly mode of transportation that has the potential to benefit both the health of individuals and the environment.

In Zambia, cycling can be an affordable and reliable mode of transportation, particularly for those who do not have access to automobiles or public transportation. With the right infrastructure, such as designated lanes, cycling can become a viable alternative to motorized transport for short and long-distance travel.

Physical inactivity is one of the leading risk factors for non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, according to the World Health Organisation. By promoting cycling, Zambia can encourage people to be more physically active and reduce their risk of developing these lifestyle diseases. Cycling is also an environmentally friendly mode of transportation that can help reduce carbon emissions.

To promote cycling in Zambia, investing in bicycle infrastructure is a viable option. This includes the construction of dedicated cycling lanes, development of safe cycling routes, and the provision of secure bike parking facilities.
The government may also consider tax breaks for companies that encourage employees to commute to work by bicycle.
Cycling initiatives and events, such as cycling competitions, group rides, and educational campaigns about the benefits of cycling, can also be effective.

However, Zambia currently lacks the necessary infrastructure to make cycling safe and convenient. Cyclists often have to share the road with motor vehicles, which can be dangerous. This has led to numerous riad traffic fatalities in the country, discouraging many individuals from cycling. Therefore, it is important to prioritize cycling safety measures and infrastructure, including educating motorists and cyclists on road safety and traffic regulations.
Daniel Mwamba, Chairman for ZRST, emphasizes the significance of promoting cycling in Zambia, and urges the government to act quickly to make cycling safer: “Promotion of cycling in Zambia is a significant initiative that can benefit both individuals and the nation as a whole. However, proper infrastructure and road safety measures are required for this to occur. As a result, more people will be encouraged to take up cycling, and the number of cyclists killed in traffic will decrease.”

ZRST urges the government to take action and invest in cycling infrastructure and road safety measures to ensure the safety and well-being of cyclists on the nation’s roads. By prioritising cycling safety, Zambia can encourage more individuals to take up cycling as a mode of transportation, and ultimately promote a healthier, more sustainable, and safer future.
Since 2021, ZRST has been organising the car-free days in Lusaka, creating an opportunity for people to enjoy and experience the public spaces of their city without motor vehicles. The days demonstrated just how much safer, liveable, and more efficient urban space can be.

2 COMMENTS

  1. The passion I have for cycling cannot be measured. And it doesn’t make sense that in a country like Zambia we don’t have bicycle lanes. The Netherlands has the most extensive bicycle lanes and their citizens make far much money than we do in Zambia. Perhaps the only time when we cannot bike in Zambia is during the rainy season.
    But we desperately have to invest in dedicated bike lanes.

  2. I totally agree with this submission. The design of the rebuilt Great East road leaves you to wonder who approved such works. The track provided for both pedestrians and cyclists is too narrow for the purpose. It puts lives of both in danger. Why do we always miss the opportunity to do the correct thing?

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