Approximately, it is estimated a quarter of Afghans use bicycles to commute to work and school, the majority being from low-income households who can’t afford motor vehicles. Unfortunately, due to the forty-year long war, the roads have become badly damaged with potholes and long stretches of unpaved roads, making it potentially dangerous for cyclists as well as already having caused several accidents. In addition to this, the amount of cars has nearly tripled from 2005 -2015 to a staggering 1.6 million, which creates more potential danger for those using bicycles.
However thanks to funding from the World Bank’s Cities Investment Program, an initiative has been introduced to construct and rebuild the streets of Afghanistan. There will be a construction of a new 3-kilometer road stretch in District 7, which will be focused largely on safety, with dedicated bike lanes, sidewalks, traffic signs, drains and trees being welcome additions which will benefit everyone. The drains and trees will help ensure the sustainability of the road.
Other locations will also enjoy the benefits, with construction of additional similar roads being built in Herat, Jalalabad, Khost, Kandahar and Mazar-e-Sharif through the Cities Investment Program. This is also good news for local businesses, as the initiative will directly support local businesses and create welcomed job opportunities.
Locals have expressed their excitement towards the new initiative, particularly among young children who regularly use these routes for their school journeys.
"We are thankful to whoever did this amazing job. The introduction of bike lanes will definitely improve our safety and make our daily commute more comfortable. With the construction of this road, the whole look of our neighborhood has changed. Now it looks like a new area; the dust has been reduced and it is much easier to commute," says Kiramatullah.