Elevating Youth Voices for Change
Bicycle Heroes engages children in solving urban mobility challenges related to cycling as a way of addressing their needs and raising their awareness about the need for, and benefits of, cycling.
Bicycle Heroes Theory of Change
Children have a unique perspective on how to solve challenges yet often go unheard; their needs, when met, make cities safe for other vulnerable groups (elderly, disabled) in addition to the general population; and, they are effective spokespeople for change as a result of their influence over their families and society in general.
Working with and for young people presents a unique opportunity to enact widespread and inclusive change through cycling.
How does the programme work?
Children learn about the benefits of cycling and the challenges to increasing cycling. With this knowledge, they come up with initial ideas to make cycling safer and more fun for kids in their city.
Children are invited to develop and design their ideas further as part of a guided workshop. A jury of key stakeholders evaluates the ideas and selects a winner.
Participating children are invited to join the Hero Squad through which they work with key stakeholders to implement the selected idea and increase awareness about cycling in their community.
“Kids bring a unique perspective to the table, they are extremely creative, they think of things that we, as adults, forget to look at. And what maybe matters the most is that by creating these ideas they show that they count too and that we should take them into account. By designing cities through the eyes of children we can you make cities better for everyone.”
Kathelijne Boerma, Bicycle Mayor of Amsterdam
What cities are involved?
The programme was started in the Netherlands in 2018 with implementation in:
- The Hague
After initial success moving from local pilot to CROW certified programme, in 2022 Bicycle Heroes expanded to pilot in other cities in Europe. This was in partnership with EIT Urban Mobility and co-funded by the European Union in the following cities:
In 2023 we are supported by the Urban Movement Innovation Fund to take this programme further with implementation happening in:
- Addis Ababa
We are continuing to expand the programme to other cities within Europe and around the world over the next few years. If you are interested in holding a Bicycle Heroes programme in your city you can email email@example.com.
Bicycle Heroes final in Amsterdam, September 2020. The winner was Cato Bolderman, proposing an idea for an illuminated waterfront cycle route. photo: Anke Teunissen