The Charter of Vancouver - Children Have The Right To Cycle

The Cycling Embassy of Great Britain is happy to support the Charter of Vancouver, and urges others to do so.

The Charter is based upon the United Nations 1990 Convention on the Rights of the Child (pdf), and aims to enshrine the right of children to cycle as a means of attaining the rights set out in the convention; in particular

Governments recognize the right of every child to a st

andard of living adequate for the child’s physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development


Governments shall respect and promote the right of the child to participate fully in cultural and artistic life and shall encourage the provision of appropriate and equal opportunities for cultural, artistic, recreational and leisure activity

Allowing children to cycle is an easy and obvious way of furthering these goals; it ensures they are physically active, it allows them to explore their own environment, gives them the ability to travel greater distances and gain independence, visiting places of importance to them, and creates substantial benefits for the liveability, safety and prosperity of their neighbourhoods.

We urge that steps are taken to remove the barriers to children cycling in Great Britain, in particular the lack of objective and subjective safety on our streets and roads. Many British children would like to cycle to school, independently or with their parents, yet only 2%  currently do so. Danger, both perceived and actual, is the main reason why - it is the road environment that forces parents to take their children to school, when they many would prefer to cycle.

By contrast, in countries where cycling has been made safe, pleasant and convenient for children of all ages, cycling to school is the norm, and children are independent, healthier and happier.