Right to cycle 'should be a UN human right'

Vancouver Charter aims to turn around decline in kids cycling to school

by Sarah Barth   July 4, 2012  

Children cycling - pic credit European Cyclists Federation

A child's right to cycle should be enshrined as a UN human right says the ‘Charter of Vancouver’ , unveiled at Velo-city Global, the world’s largest cycling policy conference last week.

Addressing the audience during Velo-city Global, Dr. Paul Tranter, Geography Professor at the University of New South Wales said: “If we get it right for children, we’ll get it right for cycling and if we get it right for cycling, we’ll get it right for children.

“At the end of the day, who can argue against safer cities for children?”

In the last 30 years, the number of children cycling or walking to school across the world has diminished from 82 per cent to just 14 per cent.

Although the Netherlands still has a 50 per cent rate, countries like the UK and and USA lag behind at 2 per cent and 1 per cent respectively.

Linking to the Convention of the Rights of the Child, the Charter calls upon the UN and other institutions to consider cycling as a human right for children and “to include cycling as part of all sustainable transport policies and strategies.”

“We’re calling upon the United Nations and we call upon you, Ban Ki-moon, to give all children access to cycling,” said Bernhard Ensink, Secretary General of the European Cyclists’ Federation.

Velo-city conferences attempt to influence decision makers, and improve the planning and infrastructure for the daily use of the bicycle in an urban environment. The conferences include experts, representatives of associations, institutions, policy-makers and social agents, universities and companies.

This year, the conference was held in Vancouver, hence the Charter's name. Sessions focused on incorporating cycling education into school curriculums, promoting youth engagement in alternative transport planning and transportation decision making, as well as best practices for bike-to-school programs.

You can read the full text of the Charter here.

Individuals are being encouraged to tweet in support of the Charter under the hashtag #childrenrighttocycle. Institutions are asked to fill in this online form to formally lend support.


2 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

“At the end of the day, who can argue against safer cities for children?”

No-one at all. Just because there's a statement in a Charter obviously doesn't result in safer cities for children though.

I'm off to draft a charter banning my neighbour's cat from dumping in my garden.

posted by Sadly Biggins [271 posts]
4th July 2012 - 17:26


Shame EuCF found it necessary to plug skid lids in this photo.

On the other hand, the setting used for the photo is just about the only one where a skid lid might deliver a safety benefit.

posted by Paul M [342 posts]
5th July 2012 - 13:47