BIKE TO WORK
Bike Anjo (Bike Angels), a network of voluntary cyclists who help other people to use their bikes as a means of transport - from teaching how to ride a bicycle to identifying safe cycling routes for São Paulo inhabitants - is at the forefront of the active mobility movement in the city, where only 1% of the population use bicycles in their day to day travels, compared to 22% of car users. Not surprisingly, 80% of air pollutant particles in São Paulo come from vehicular sources and 73% from cars alone.
In a wealthy city with high social inequality rates like São Paulo, where cars are still perceived as a status symbol, changing the transport culture is far from being an easy task. With GCCA’s support, Bike Anjo is running their Bike to Work Campaign with a strong focus on the health benefits of active mobility.
Improvements are unequivocal for the health and wellbeing of individuals who cycle to work as well as for public health (as a consequence of air pollution reduction linked to a reduced number of cars in the city). Moreover, active mobility contributes to a healthier and safer climate, as a consequence of decreased carbon emissions, which are at the origin of global warming.
SP Bike to Work Prize
In 11 May, the “Bike to Work Day” in Brazil, companies from São Paulo were awarded the “SP Bike to Work Prize”, which is likely to set a new trend of corporate engagement with cyclo activism in Brazil. As part of their “Bike to Work Campaign” this year, GCCA partner Bike Anjo, a leading NGOs in Brazil’s active mobility scene, created the prize to encourage businesses to join their forces towards the use of bicycles as a sustainable and viable means of transport in Brazil’s biggest cities.
Eureka Coworking was the award-winning company in the small business category, for its innovative policies and pioneerism.
"Since the launch of our company, we have been offering discounts to any professionals that come to our co-working space on a bike”, explains Daniel Moral, creator of Eureka. "We work in the spirit of collaborative economy, and we don’t consider the current “one car per person” transport model acceptable. We have to think about optimizing resources and not spending them fully in today's world.”
Itaú Unibanco received the large companies category award due to the impact and broad reach of the bank’s actions in favor of cycling and active mobility. On top of being the key sponsor of the bike sharing systems in several Brazilian cities, Itaú Unibanco has also been recognised for their efforts to encourage the use of bikes by their own employees. "We have recently doubled the parking spaces for bikes in all administrative centers in São Paulo”, says the bank’s institutional relations department representative Natália Cerri.
A seminar was held in São Paulo on 11 May, the Bike to Work Day, when the companies Eureka Co-working and Itaú officially received the prize. Civil society organisations, government representatives and other companies gathered in the event to discuss the potentials of integrating health and urban mobility policies. The health benefits of cycling to work, which pervaded the campaign narrative this year, were emphasized by experts such as Evangelina Vormittag, from the Health and Sustainability Institute - SP, a think-tank that has been pushing for sustainable policies that may be able to reverse the growing trend of non-communicable diseases such as those associated with air pollution.
In São Paulo, 80% of pollutant particles are originated by vehicular sources. “Incentives for commuting to work by bicycle can have an impressive impact on reducing air pollution in cities like São Paulo, where 50% of bicycle trips correspond to commuting to work, according to Guillermo Petzhold, a mobility expert at WRI - World Resources Institute.
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