The 17 Sustainable Development Goals are goals set by world leaders for a better world in 2030. The bicycle/cycling contributes directly to the realisation of at least 11, but rather 14, of the 17 goals.
Goal #1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere
A bicycle is an affordable and simple mode of transport enabling access to education, jobs, markets, and community activities in both urban and rural areas. An increase of disposable income since for instance more crops can be brought to the market, more markets can be visited (due to an expanded caption area). It saves time so more time for other income generating activities (income diversification) such as bicycle taxi, street vending and garbage collection.
Goal #2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
A bicycle allows for better access to (food) markets and communities. Better access to markets means better access to inputs (e.g. fertilisers and quality seeds). And better opportunities to reach and sell to communities. So instead of surplus harvest going to waste it reaches the market. An incentive and opportunity for small scale farmers to produce more, earn more and contribute to food security.
Goal #3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
A bicycle generates beneficial health effects due to decreased air pollution emissions, decreased greenhouse gas emissions and increased levels of physical activity. But evenly important, or even more, a bicycle empowers the Community Health Volunteer (CHV) strategy as the first access to health care for the majority of people living in Africa. A CHV on a bicycle can visit twice as many households in a day. And is faster in case of emergencies such as child births. Hence the bicycle contributes to an improved maternal and child health.
Goal #4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
Access to education is a huge challenge, but the solution is simple: affordable and efficient transport. By having a bicycle, students can move faster and easily cross longer distances. The valuable time saved with a bicycle allows students to combine education and household tasks. Give girls a fair chance to follow education, reduce the number of early school leavers through early pregnancies and ultimately offer opportunities for a better future.
Goal #5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
A bicycle improves access for women and girls to water, schools, markets and jobs that may otherwise be inaccessible through available transport means.
Goal #6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
The average distance (back and forth) in developing countries to (clean) drinking water is 6 kilometers. You can travel this distance in 1 hour on foot. Often women and girls are busy 3-4 hours a day to get water for the family. On the bicycle you can cover this distance in 20 minutes and more jerry cans can be transported. A saving of over 3.5 hours per day.
Goal #7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
As an energy efficient form of transport, it uses renewable human power in the most efficient way, and e-cycling offers access to the use of efficient e-mobility technology.
Goal #8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
The cycling sector creates more (formal and informal) jobs for the same turnover than any other transport sector.
Goal #9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
Increased numbers of cyclists make it easier for governments to build resilient infrastructure and sustainable transport systems for economic development and human well-being.
Goal #10: Reduce inequality within and among countries
People with disabilities are a very vulnerable group. They are often excluded, without (or with limited) access to social interaction, education, let alone that they have opportunities to generate an income themselves. By improving the mobility of disabled people by providing them with mobility aids, such as hand bicycles and wheelchairs, they will have better access to education, social participation and income. But it has also been proven that by equipping women and girls with an asset such as a bicycle, in unbalanced households, get more respect and more equality.
Goal #11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
Cycling is an efficient way of using expensive and scarce space in urban areas, making settlements more inclusive, safe, and sustainable, as a healthy, clean and cheap mode of transport.
Goal #12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
The transportation of people and goods by bicycle matches perfectly with the diversity and scale of regional and local economies.
Goal #13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
Environmentally, a bicycle is a symbol for decarbonizing transport and societies; it offers the possibility for immediate climate action. Governments at all levels can take action by integrating cycling into their climate action policies, strategies, eduation and awareness-raising.
Goal #17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development
Finally, the participation of all actors involved in the cycling movement supports the global partnership for sustainable development.
(Copyright and credits to the European Cyclists’ Federation’s publication: “Cycling Delivers on the Global Goals – Shifting towards a better economy, society, and planet for all”)