The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has said some infrastructural adjustments are needed in Abuja to support the proposed introduction of bicycle transport in the nation’s capital city.
The Corps’ Public Education Officer, Mr. Bisi Kazeem, stated this in an interview with newsmen in Abuja on Sunday.
Kazeem said the plan also required amendment of the National Road Safety Regulations to include provisions for the safety of cyclists. He spoke against the backdrop of the recent announcement of the proposed bicycle policy by the National Council on Transportation (NCT) after its 15th meeting in Sokoto.
According to the FRSC official, “As a pilot scheme, if Abuja is taken, there is need for restructuring of some intersections before we can kick start it successfully. FRSC studied all the road networks in Abuja, and we have identified the gaps and recommended measures to address the details.
He explained: “During the study, which we carried out with officials of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), we found out that all roads and streets have provisions for bicycle lanes in the design, but at the point of construction the lanes were either ignored, merged with pedestrian walkways, making the walkways too wide, or were turned into green areas.
“I think it is only on Yakubu Gowon Way in Asokoro that the lane is being implemented. So, a key concern is the need for re-engineering of intersections and traffic lights to provide for cyclists,” he said.
The Minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, who made the announcement after the NCT meeting, had said Abuja was chosen as pilot because it already had cycling facilities.
Amaechi stated that introduction of bicycle transport would reduce road traffic congestion and environmental pollution as well as improve the health of riders among other benefits.
Speaking in the same vein, Kazeem said that the FRSC would work with other stakeholder for its successful implementation of the policy.
“In fact, FRSC commenced the promotion of urban cycling since 2011; it is not new to us. Since then we have built collaborations and established and funded the National Stakeholders Committee for four years running comprising all government agencies relating to transport, private sector and unions for four years running.
“The committee developed the first draft National Cycling Policy, which could not be approved by the previous administration owing to bureaucracy.
“We commenced the national bicycle week and hosted three editions. We have understudied different countries’ cycling systems for domestication, and we have studied all the road networks in Abuja, which is the pilot.
“So, it is a welcome development and the policy announcement actually came as a result of a presentation that the FRSC made at that council of transport summit. For us, the announcement by the ministry confirmed our several years of advocacy and drive to make cycling a mode of transport. We are ready and we are going to work with other stakeholders to see to the success of this policy.”
Kazeem stated that cycling was already part of the FRSC public education programmes.
Eight officers of the Corps recently underwent training in the Netherlands, the world leader in cycling, in traffic safety for non-motorised transport with cycling as focus.
Some experts also came from Netherlands to train about 24 other FRSC officers, and officials of the Federal Ministries of Power, Works and Housing; Transport, and the FCT Administration.
The FRSC spokesman said the Corps was working to duplicate the training across its formations nationwide.