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.
After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.