Bicycle Mayors Urge World Leaders to Invest in Cycling at WHO Conference

At the first World Health Organisation (WHO) on Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health in Geneva, the Breathe Life campaign around clean air for a healthy future got strong commitments from global leaders, governments, IGO’s and NGO’s to change the way we live and work as we do now.

“600.000 children around the world die every year, because of air pollution, mostly in developing countries. In London, a 9-year old girl called Ella, lost her life because of asthma. It’s time for change. No more air pollution,” Christiana Figueres said during the opening session.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General at WHO, and Sao Paulo Brazil Bicycle Mayor JP Amaral opened the end ceremony riding in on a bike, to underline the importance of the shift from car-centric cities to human-centric.

Maud de Vries, co-founder of BYCS, said. “We call an end to the fallacy that more cars on roads lead to happier, healthier, more fulfilled lives. We know that in fact the opposite is true. To this end, we are leading the shift to more bicycle usage thereby ushering in an era of city life that is more human, healthier, happier and more prosperous. Cycling has many, many beneficial side effects and I am excited to see the commitment from world leaders and governments here in Geneva, to help us and our partners, like the Global Call for Climate Action (GCCA) make the shift.”

JP Amaral: “Bicycles transform cities, cities transform the world. UN says, by 2030, two-thirds of the world will live in cities. Therefore, the BYCS-organization and the Bicycle Mayors committed to 50×30, half of all city trips by bicycle by 2030. And secondly, we promise to have over 200 Bicycle Mayors worldwide by 2019. We think cycling is true transformation, not transportation.”

Amsterdam based social enterprise BYCS initiated the “Bicycle Mayor Network” in 2016. What started with one Bicycle Mayor in Amsterdam, has now grown out to a full-fledged network of passionate change-makers with Bicycle Mayors accelerating city progress on every continent.

BYCS is an Amsterdam-based social enterprise driven by the belief that bicycles transform cities and cities transform the world. Their mission is called 50by30: 50% of all trips to be made by bicycle by 2030.