Vietnam Government Commitment to Promote Cycling
For years, HealthBridge has worked closely with the local government of Hoi An, a small city in central Vietnam, to improve public spaces. More recently, our work has focused on promoting cycling and further reducing the use of motorized vehicles. (Cars are already banned in the old quarter and motorbikes limited to certain periods of the day.) Recently the work was further enhanced by being awarded a grant from the Transformative Urban Mobility Initiative (TUMI) to work on cycling.
This year, to celebrate World Bicycle Day, the local government of Hoi An, in collaboration with HealthBridge, GIZ, World Resources Institute, and QIQ (a start-up company based in Singapore) organized a festive event. The local government formally announced a five-year plan to reduce the use of motorized vehicles and promote cycling. The government also plans to build a bicycle lane to connect the city center to the popular Bang An beach. During the event, the new bicycle share program was also launched. Youth competed in a fun contest to test out the new dockets and locks, and participants played a local version of bingo, which has been acknowledged by UNESCO as a world heritage. Then the participants all cycled together on the new bicycles around the Old Quarter of Hoi An.
Hoi An has many advantages to make it a cycle-friendly city, and has already been voted by Agoda as one of the best cities in Asia for cycling. However, the increase in tourists, and in motorized vehicles including taxis and buses, has made cycling more dangerous and less pleasant. The new government initiative to focus on improving the conditions for cycling is thus particularly welcome.
There is still much work to do to ensure proper implementation of the plan and to create a proper bicycle lane. HealthBridge Vietnam looks forward to further close collaboration with local government and international partners. The goal is to benefit the residents of Hoi An as well as visiting tourists, but also to create a successful model that can be replicated in other parts of Vietnam as well.