The Lagos State Government is collaborating with the Lagos Urban Development Initiative (LUDI) to observe the first ever ‘Car Free Day’ in the state on Sunday.
The celebration was to encourage road users and motorists to set aside their cars for a day and take up active and inclusive means of transport such as cycling and walking known as Non-Motorized Transport (NMT).
Towards this end, the state has stated that traffic will be diverted around Alausa/Ikeja as cyclists will utilize Governor’s Office Road, through Mobolaji Johnson Ave, Billings Way, Obafemi Awolowo Way, Aromire, Adeniyi Jones, and Oba Akran Way for bicycle ride to mark the event while about 400 Meters of the Governor’s Avenue will be closed for the event.
The Lagos State Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde explained that the aim of the initiative was to create awareness about the benefits of NMT, which include reduced environmental pollution.
The commissioner who was quoted in a statement by the Deputy Director, Public Affairs, Mrs. Bolanle Ogunlola added that the initiative will also reduce insufficient physical activity and sedentary behavior to promote health of the people regardless of their ages.
He cited the significant drop in air pollution recorded during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns, when movement was curtailed and many private cars and public vehicles were off the roads, which he said resulted in reduction of vehicular carbon emissions into the atmosphere, thereby improving the quality of air, as well as increase in physical exercise and improved health practices
Oladehinde said, “Vehicular emissions have now become a global issue. In Nigeria as well as other developing countries, 25% of the air pollution problems are as a result of automobile exhaust. This is very evident in the number of unroadworthy, smoky vehicles plying our roads on daily basis, causing not just health issues but visibility problems and sometimes accidents.”
He also mentioned that the event provides cities and governments an opportunity to do more in advancing public transport systems which can be run more efficiently through provision of viable, reliable alternatives to the cars in the urban areas, as well as implementing NMT whereby walking, cycling and inclusive mobility are given priority.
Oladeinde further explained that the event which was being coordinated by the Lagos State Ministry of Transportation along with other Ministries, Departments, Agencies and Lagos Urban Development Initiative was necessary to continuously enlighten the citizenry on the importance of environmental health.
While urging motorists to prepare to join the rest of the world in observing the Car Free Day, the Transport Commissioner disclosed that hundreds of people are expected to convene at the Alausa, Ikeja venue where many fun and exciting activities such as cycling, cycling training, cycling competitions, skating, stretches, music, dance will take place.