By Chenelle Fernando
The Embassy of the Netherlands in Sri Lanka partnered the Colombo Municipal Council to introduce CarFreeCMB which is taking place today (14) from 6 a.m. to noon. The global movement Car-Free Days (CFD) acts as a crucial element in raising awareness amongst citizens on the importance of the reduction of fossil fuel consumption through the adoption of alternative methods of transportation.
Speaking to Yasas Hewage, we were quick to understand that this initiative aims to demarcate a particular route in Colombo – one that would be free from cars – to create an enjoyable atmosphere for people to engage in various outdoor activities such as running, cycling, and skating. Pedestrians could head down to Green Path up to the Public Library roundabout, which is part of C.W.W. Kannangara Mawatha and Independence Avenue, to experience this journey.
In the past, there have been numerous other initiatives introduced by organisations such as WrooM, which initiated the first car-free day way back in 2007 that prevented a thousand cars from coming into Colombo, and Pedal Pushers. Yasas noted that CarFreeCMB is the right push for decision-makers to recognise this as something required by all citizens.
“If we make this a success, the next step is to do it better and maybe regularly, so it becomes clear to the authorities that there is a demand for this. Our job as citizens and the community is to show that there is a demand and why we need this,” Yasas explained.
Yasas hopes for the installation of bike bays in venues such as Viharamahadevi Park and Independence Square, locations that are unsurprisingly quite notable amongst the fitness-savvy. “It would be ideal to be able to come in your bicycle, lock it to a bike bay, and then go out for a run. What people do is come in their cars, take the bicycles out, and then ride them.”
He further shared with The Sunday Morning Brunch that bicycle lanes are the subsequent outcome all enthusiasts in relation to what they hope to achieve, adding: “These aren’t going to change the game overnight, but they are little symbolic victories that would finally lead to a bike path, so that somebody would once a week ride to work and take one car out of the system.”
What to expect?
Apart from having car-free streets, the streets will also be busy with many activities. Participants will be able to embark on a range of activities that will be made available throughout the course of the event.
. Spinner – the group will be present to provide bicycles for cycling enthusiasts. “Fix your bicycle for free for the CarFreeCMB Day” will be happening for bicycle owners with underutilised bicycles
. Pedal Pushers
. TCC – the community-based triathlon training club based in Colombo which holds “Bike to Run (Brick)” sessions at Viharamahadevi Park will be present on this day
. Sri Lanka Rollerblading Club with Workout.lk – the inline skating community in Colombo in conjunction with other rollerblading groups will be present to meet up and have some like-minded fun
. Krav Maga Kapap Lanka Institute – embark upon some defensive Krav Maga action with instructor Kunchana Ranasinghe
. Sri Lanka Health Qigong Association
. Push Skateboards – Hash and Manga will make an appearance
. Zumba by Dharshan – if dance fitness is more down your alley, this activity is sure to get you going
. Colombo Night Run – check out this non-profit running community that meets on a regular basis for running during the night time in the city of Colombo for some fun-filled activities
. TandemVision – taking place for the first time in Sri Lanka, this non-profit charity enables children and adults who are either blind or partially blind to enjoy the thrill of riding a bicycle