The 193 members of the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution on 15 March stating that the bicycle was a tool for combatting climate change.
The resolution, proposed by Turkmenistan, was passed unanimously. The non-binding resolution calls on member states to “integrate the bicycle into public transportation, in urban and rural settings in developing and developed countries.”
It would have been better if the word adopted was “cycle” because bicycle refers only to two-wheeled cycles and therefore excludes tricycles and quadricycles and even unicycles.
Nevertheless, increasing the number of people who cycle through improved road safety and the promotion of cycling will help achieve “sustainable development, including the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions,” stated the resolution, which encourages member states to “give special attention to cycling in cross-cutting development strategies.”
Turkmenistan is governed by one of the world’s most repressive regimes, but thanks to its cycle-mad autocratic leader it’s progressive on pedalling. In 2013, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov ordered all citizens to buy bikes. The Central Asian hermit state was behind the United Nations’ creation of the annual World Bicycle Day , which celebrates its fifth edition on 3 June.
Technically, Berdymukhamedov is no longer the country’s president after Serdar, his son, won a landslide victory in a show election last week. The gas-rich Turkmenistan will likely be ruled by both father and son, but it’s not known whether President Jnr is quite as enamoured of cycling as President Snr.