Medina bikes: Africa’s first cycle-share scheme launches in Marrakech
With the potential to curb urban congestion, could a successful trial scheme in Morocco act as a launchpad for borrowing bikes across the whole continent?
Tuesday 15 November 2016 07.00 GMT
Moroccans claim you can identify someone as a true Marrakech local if they own a bicycle. The streets of this north African city were once full of ardent cyclists, but in recent decades they’ve been overtaken by scooters and cars that swarm the city’s congested roads.
Now, French bike company Smoove, is trying to revive Marrakech’s biking culture — and boost sustainable transport — by launching Africa’s first fully functioning bike share scheme in the city. The launch coincided with the start of the COP22 climate conference in the city.
“We have made sustainability a part of our constitution,” says Hakima El Haité, COP22 host and delegate minister of the environment for the Moroccan government, which is supporting the scheme. “So now we are implementing.” Along with Marrakech’s new fleet of electric buses that were rolled out in July, the bike share is part of the wider scheme to implement green transport in Moroccan cities, she says.