BICYCLES are to play an important role in transport across the city.
The Transport and Public Works MEC Daylin Mitchell, in partnership with Qhubeka, Pedal Power Association and Ben Bikes, delivered 20 bicycles to the Baptist Church in Grassy Park on Wednesday.
The handover, which was initiated by the Transport and Public Works Department, is part of the Provincial Sustainable Transport Programme (PSTP).
Pastor Wayne Barros, from Grassy Park Baptist Church, said: “I feel very privileged to be able to play a small part in the upliftment of our community. Our area has been riddled with crime, poverty, unemployment, drug-dominated and family crisis situations. It was my desire to have a project that will immediately attract our youth and children, to build a positive spirit and also have an attitude that all things are possible. The bicycles that were sponsored made this a reality for us to ensure we can reach and be able to make a difference in our area.”
The programme aims to develop and implement a sustainable transport system in the Western Cape and the goal is to distribute 400 bicycles to organisations in the six western and southern Covid-19 hotspots areas in the province. Some of the areas include Atlantis, Grassy Park and Langa.
Mitchell said: “The PSTP is particularly focused on improving the conditions for walking and cycling and public transport facilities. Within the Western Cape non-metro areas, 35% of people walk to work as their primary mode of transport, and 46% of learners walk to school. Car ownership is usually limited to higher income brackets and therefore 50% to 72% of people rely on non-motorised transport (NMT), lifts or public transport.
“This makes NMT interventions, such as provision for safe walking and cycling, a high priority within these regions. Bicycles provide an opportunity to improve mobility and increase access to opportunities for those for whom public transport is unaffordable,” added Mitchell.
This was the second handover within a space of a week after Premier Alan Winde and David Bellairs from the Pedal Power Association (PPA) delivered bicycles to Siyakhula soup kitchen in Gugulethu on Thursday.
Winde also joined PPA in their safety awareness ride in Khayelitsha on Saturday. This was to highlight the dangers faced by riders on the road and to encourage members in the area to take up the sport.
Winde said: “Over the course of a week, the Western Cape Government, including myself and Minister Mitchell, have spent a lot of energy focusing on cycling and taking part in bicycle handovers. What underpins all these initiatives is the need to improve mobility, particularly in our townships, in a cost-effective and green manner which further promotes mental and physical wellbeing.”