The United Nations (UN) Philippines, in partnership with SM, recently celebrated World Bicycle Day with a Fun Bike Ride around the SM Mall of Asia Complex. The event also marked the UN Philippines’ first time to officially celebrate the UN day in the country.
Around 250 cyclists, led by UN Resident Coordinator in the Philippines Gustavo Gonzalez, joined the Fun Bike Ride. These included officials from UN Philippines; the embassies of the Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Indonesia, Netherlands and Poland; and cycling advocacy groups including the Firefly Brigade.
World Bicycle Day draws attention to the benefits of using the bicycle — a simple, affordable, clean and environmentally sustainable means of transportation. The UN General Assembly declared June 3 as world Bicycle Day in 2018 to acknowledge the uniqueness, longevity and versatility of the bicycle which has been in use for two centuries.
In the Philippines, the UN values World Bicycle Day for the opportunity it offers to advocate its important climate goals, including: the promotion of inclusive and green mobility; reducing carbon emissions; helping advocate for the transition to green cities; and mobilizing Filipinos to use their bicycles for trips as much as possible, with a view to adopting healthy lifestyles.
“With all of these crucial advocacies carried by World Bicycle Day, riding our bicycles is a small act with great impact on achieving national and global goals,” Gonzalez said.
As part of its ongoing advocacy to promote a cycling culture and enable healthy, sustainable and inclusive mobility, SM Cares, the Corporate Social Responsibility arm of SM Supermalls, launched the Bike-Friendly SM initiative at the Mall of Asia in September 2020.
SM has since installed 1,155 bike parking facilities nationwide which can accommodate more than 8,400 bicycles; installed 86 bike repair stations across all malls, and has established a total of 19.75 kilometers of shared and dedicated bike lanes at the SM Mall of Asia and SM Seaside in Cebu; bike trail parks; and bike-and-dine facilities at many of its malls.
Highlights under the initiative include: the production of the country’s very first Biker’s Manual, in partnership with the Department of Transportation, the Department of Health, Department of the Interior and Local Government, and the MMDA. There were also bike safety clinics together with cycling advocacy groups like the Firefly Brigade and the Bikers United Movement. More recently, a SM employee outreach project, Bike Ride for A Cause in SM Masinag, SM Pampanga, SM Bacolod and SM Lanang Premier served more than 700 beneficiaries.
The Bike-Friendly SM initiative is part of a comprehensive plan to make communities where SM malls are located, more inclusive, livable, and sustainable.