Even though I have been riding a bicycle for over 40 years in Kathmandu, I do not feel it is safe anymore. I have a bicycle at home and another one at office so that I can ride on either side of Ring Road in Kirtipur and Lalitpur but not from Kirtipur to Lalitpur.
31 October 2021 is also the beginning of the most important international meetings conferences of our times — the 26th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Conference on Climate Change (COP26) – is beginning in Glasgow.
A big Nepali delegation led by Prime Minister Deuba is in Glasgow where he is making a speech urging developed countries to reduce their emissions and ask their support for vulnerable countries such as Nepal to adapt to the climate crisis. He will also raise the issue of loss and damage caused by the global emergency.
But as the Nepali delegation negotiate on the complex issues surrounding the climate crisis, they will also tour Glasgow. I urge them to look out for the over 300km of bicycle lanes around the city of Glasgow, and the light projections set up by Cycling UK that reads ‘Cycling Fights Climate Change’.
European cyclists claim that if Europe cycled 5km a day and they would reach 50% of their targeted emission cuts from the transport sector for 2050. In fact cycling a 4 km (20 min) commute and back instead of driving would cut 1.1 kg CO2 per day, which is almost twice as high as switching to renewable energy or retrofitting insulation in an average home.
But for an average Nepali, cycling is more about public health and the economy, rather than cutting carbon. Living in a city where the average air pollution level is 10 times higher than WHO guidelines, it is imperative to do whatever possible to reduce pollution level and improve health. Promoting walking and cycling is one of the most cost effective ways to achieve this.