Nairobi 1 November 2018— About 20 participants from Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria and Rwanda participated in Africa’s first Bike Share workshop which was recently held  in Nairobi, Kenya.

The participants learnt from the experience of the two pilot bike share systems in Nairobi – the University of Nairobi campus bike share project (30 bicycles) as well as the system at the United Nations Offices in Nairobi (100 bicycles).

Public bike share (PBS) systems around the world have provided critical links to transit, jobs, and other destinations, expanding the transportation network of cities and connecting people to new opportunities. Over the past five years, global bike share growth has been astounding. Over 1,900 bike share systems - station-based, dockless, and hybrid systems, both publicly and privately operated - are now operating worldwide, up from about 700 systems in 2013.

The workshop was organized by the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) with technical support from UN Environment, UN-Habitat and the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) Africa. International participation was facilitated by the Transformative Urban Mobility Initiative.

In her opening remarks, Michelle DeFreese, Senior Green Growth Officer, Global Green Growth Institute, said: bicycle sharing, as a relatively new concept, needs to be disseminated on a wider scale on the African continent. Secondary cities in Rwanda are facing high urbanization rates, but are starting to recognize the importance of non-motorised transport as a solution to cater for the increasing transport demand.”

Andre Dzikus, Coordinator, Urban Basic Services Branch, UN-Habitat, said: the great contribution of bicycle sharing systems to the achievements of the global frameworks such as the Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda. These can only be achieved through action on the ground, particularly in the cities with highest urbanization and motorization rates”

Ligia Noronha, Director, Economy Division, UN Environment, explained the increasing challenge of air pollution in urban areas and the impact on the health of urban residents. “Bicycle sharing systems are one solutions to improve the quality of air for the increasing number of people in our cities,” she said.

The workshop’s objective was to build capacity of representatives of cities, NGOs and private sector, on planning, implementing, financing and operating public bicycle sharing systems.

The technical partners provided trainings on the practical and technical aspects of operating PBS systems in Africa, potential challenges and opportunities, as well as on how to build a cycling culture. Through field visits to the two existing bicycle sharing programmes, hands-on experience was being discussed with the responsible entities of these operational systems.

In addition, study visits were organized to Nairobi’s Central Business District in order to assess the potential of bicycle sharing in the city center – as well as discuss street design features and standards.

Representatives from the bike share operators Mobike, Nextbike, PBSC Urban Solutions and Uber JUMP engaged in interactive discussions with participants and provided insights into their current projections and plans for rolling out to the African market.

The organisers will continue their efforts on sharing their global experience and lessons learnt with the African market, and further build capacity of the interested cities. Hopefully, the astounding pace of bike share systems globally can soon be replicated on the African continent – the continent where cities are growing most rapidly.