Each year, 5th June marks World Environment Day, a day for raising global awareness to take positive environmental action to protect nature and the planet Earth. This year’s Sunday 5th June saw UWABA (Umma wa Wapanda Baiskeli; or “Public Cycling Community”), a cycling community in Dar es Salaam in cooperation with European Union, organizing the cycle caravan. This is to support low carbon transport, to promote environmental alternatives to high carbon transport as well as putting emphasis on the presence (or absence) of bicycle roads/routes in the city.
With the motivation to do the mapping for the city, Ramani Huria fully participated to support the initiatives by UWABA community and map the possible bicycle routes around the city. This was done through tracking the caravan’s route with the use GPS units tied on the bicycle.
GPS attached to a bicycle
The event was scheduled to start at 7 AM at the Mnazi Mmoja grounds with registration of the participants, provision of free reflector jackets, bicycle helmets and bicycle reflectors to all participants.
Participants with their reflector jackets on.
Most of the attendees for the event ranged from disabled people with hand bikes and abled people including women, children and men with the coverage of different media sources.
Disabled participants in the back and a lady with her child
After all attendee arrives, including January Yusuph Makamba, a minister of State in the Vice President’s Office for Union Affairs and Environment, the caravan started at 08:45 AM. The route went along Bibi Titi road, Ohio Street, Sokoine Driveway, Chimara Street, Barack Obama Drive to Agha Khan Hospital, where people had short break to catch their breath. After that, the caravan continued to Salender Bridge and took the United Nations Road to Morogoro Road (Fire Squad Headquarters), followed the Morogoro Road and caught Lumumba road back to Mnazi Mmoja.
Throughout the process, the routes used for the caravan were basically not only meant for cycling purposes, but rather, they were roads for general uses such as cars, motorcycles etc. With the escort and support from traffic police, cars within the major roads were blocked leaving clear way for the caravan to go through. This isn’t an everyday occurrence, with cyclists usually competing for space with traffic.
The caravan’s route (GPS traces) around the city centre.
Back at Mnazi Mmoja, while attendees had snacks and water to eat and drink, Mr. Mejah Mbuya, chairperson for UWABA gave a short speech on the importance of using bicycles as low carbon transport around the city. With the fact that Dar es Salaam is much affected by traffic jams, Mr. Mbuya emphasized on the use of bicycles to minimize it.
At the end of the event, 5 hand bikes to 5 lucky disabled people, and 15 bicycles were awarded to 15 people who attended the caravan. Unfortunately, no attendee from Ramani Huria team won any bicycle, but did have fun while mapping!
15 bikes for winners
Ramani Huria is looking forward to joining forces with UWABA in mapping and promoting low carbon transport i.e bicycle usage throughout Dar es Salaam.