Amsterdam Bicycle Mayor Believes Cycling Could Save World, Improve Public Health

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Bicycle mayor of Amsterdam Katelijne Boerma believes that bicycles could save the world and cycling is all about improving public health and reducing pollution.

Written By Bhavya Sukheja | Mumbai | Updated On:
Amsterdam

The bicycle mayor of Amsterdam Katelijne Boerma believes that bicycles could save the world and cycling is all about improving public health, reducing air pollution, fostering human connection, and raising independent children. The 45-year-old sports teacher and programme manager at the University of Amsterdam chose to study, love, and raise her family in Dutch capital because she wanted to be able to bike every day. Boerma became Amsterdam's second bicycle mayor in 2017 after she saw an advertisement in a newspaper inviting people to run for the unusual position which is a part of the Bicycle Mayor and Leaders Network, run by bike advocacy organisation BYCS. 

According to media reports, the goal of the network is to elect individuals committed to making every city more bicycle-friendly by working with civil society groups and municipal governments. While talking to an international media outlet, Boerma and other bicycle mayors believe that cycling is about more than mobility. Amsterdam is also known as the bicycle capital of the world because of its cyclist-friendly culture and infrastructure, including more than 500 kilometres of cycle paths and lanes. Boerma reportedly said that the bicycle mayors have now spread to 91 cities and a global movement powered by the idea that 'if Amsterdam can do it, any city in the world can do it' has been initiated. 

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Bicycle Mayor and Leaders Network

All the bicycle mayors are part of the same Bicycle Mayor and Leaders Network and share a common code of conduct, however, some bicycle mayors encourage under-represented populations, such as women or immigrants, to cycle. There are some who also work with municipal governments to make cycling less dangerous. Boerma said that her main goal in Amsterdam is to make every child a competent cyclist by the age of 12. Although cycling has many health benefits and is eco-friendly many bicycle mayors claim that funding is the biggest obstacle for them. While talking to an international media outlet, Boerma said that Mayors raise money on a project-to-project basis from municipalities and private donors, but few funders want to pay for important overhead costs, such as hiring legal experts in cities with strict transit laws. Most of the bicycle mayors are also volunteers and are balancing a daytime job with eight to ten hours of weekly bicycle mayor duties.

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