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World Bicycle Day:  Cycling Federation intensifies plan to revive sport

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By Justina Akende/Dorcas Jonah

The celebration of United Nations (UN) World Bicycle Day will help to resuscitate the culture of cycling in Nigeria and improve healthy living, an official said on Thursday.

Giandomenico Massari, President of Cycling Federation of Nigeria (CFN), said in a statement in Abuja that the UN declaration of June 3 as World Bicycle Day was very important.

“It will encourage relevant stakeholders to advocate for a mobility system that makes cycling a safe and reliable means of transport.

“It will also help to promote awareness for the public to take up cycling, instead of the car, within cities,’’ he said.

Massari said the federation in collaboration with the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and other stakeholders would mark the day in Nigeria on June 4 and June 5.

The CFN president said this would be done with a mass cycling rally in Abuja.

“Nigeria will join the rest of the world on June 4 and June 5 to mark the UN World Bicycle Day.

“This is to draw attention of decision-makers to the need to include bicycle in international, regional, national and sub-national cross-cutting development strategies, policies, budgeting and programmes,’’ he said.

Speaking on programmes to mark the UN World Bicycle Day, Emmanuel John, the CFN board member responsible for urban cycling, said the day would be celebrated all over the country.

“According to the activities lined up, on Monday in Abuja there will be a mass cycling rally, from the FRSC Headquarters in Wuse to the Federal Secretariat where the Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole, will receive participants.

“The team will present to the Minister the policy dimension that promotes cycling.’’

John said paying attention to cycling would enable citizens draw from the many benefits of cycling which includes reduction in traffic congestion, pollution and road crashes.

He listed other benefits to include improved health, reduction in cost of transportation, among others.

The CFN board member said the rally would proceed to the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), where the Minister of FCT, Muhammed Bello, would receive the team.

He said the minister would be presented with a request to create bicycle lanes and other traffic facilities to make cycling safe and reliable.

“We shall proceed to the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), where the Director-General will receive us, and we will share with him what role NTA and other media outfit can play to reinvent the culture of cycling in Nigeria,’’ he said.

“The event would be rounded off on Tuesday with advocacy visits to Government Secondary School, Tudun Wada and Government Secondary School, Garki.

“There, we shall share with the students the opportunity of seeing cycling as a better option for their mobility than the car.

“We will urge them to say to their parents `Dad, buy me a bicycle instead’,’’ John said.

He also enjoined the Nigerian public to join in the advocacy and celebration of the UN World Bicycle Day.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that worldwide promotion of cycling has improved now that the UN has declared June 3 of every year as International World Bicycle Day.

The declaration was made on April 12 at the 72nd Regular Session of the UN General Assembly, through an adoption by a consensus of 193 member-states.

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