The City of Johannesburg’s mission to create a non-motorised transport culture to minimise traffic congestion and limit the effects of greenhouse gas emissions took another leap forward on Friday August 21 when it handed over 293 bicycles to learners at three Soweto high schools.
An extra 15 bicycles were donated to the Orlando Community Policing Forum. The bicycles are worth more than R800 000 in total. The learners – from Orlando High School, Noordgesig Secondary School and Bona Combined Comprehensive School – were selected on the basis of the distance they travel to and from school each day.
The recipients left the Orlando East Communal Hall – where the donation was made by Member of the Mayoral Committee for Transport Councillor Christine Walters and Gauteng MEC for Transport Ismail Vadi – smiling from ear to ear. The donation was a result of the City’s partnership with stakeholders such as Dimension Data, Qhubeka and Bhoni4Kasi.
In October the City will host the second-ever Ecomobility World Festival in Sandton during which it will seek to encourage residents to use non-motorised modes of transport – such as cycling and walking, as well as public transport – to reduce traffic congestion in the city and save the environment by cutting down on greenhouse gas emissions. The handover of the bicycles follows the unveiling of a R1-million dedicated cycling lane in the area by Johannesburg Executive Mayor Councillor Parks Tau in October last year. Friday’s ceremony was attended by several councillors and top officials.
“As we draw closer to hosting the Ecomobility World Festival in October, it is fitting to donate these bicycles and raise awareness of the concept of a car-free city,” MMC Walters said.
“Through bike activations such as Freedom Ride we want to grow the number of people who use bicycles as a mode of transport. In this case, we have selected these three schools that have a huge number of learners who travel a fair distance to get to school each day,” added MMC Walters.
MEC Vadi, a keen cyclist, told the pupils he met his wife while cycling. He encouraged the pupils to take good care of their bicycles.
“Bicycles are becoming a way of life because of their health benefits. They are helping people move in style. Set up cycling clubs at your schools, organise cycling races and promote inter-school cycling championships,” he said
Gauteng Department of Education Circuit Manager Busi Luthuli said the bicycles would help the learners get to school on time and cut down on absenteeism.
Dimension Data Executive Director Lubalalo Dyantyi said the project would cut travelling time by 75%, which would hopefully help to improve results.