(The Daily Star/Pernille Solheim)
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Beirut's first Bicycle Mayor aims for car reduction of 50 pctAfter braving Lebanese traffic by bike since 2001, often accompanied by his three children, Phillippe Dagher has become Beirut's first-ever Bicycle Mayor as part of an Amsterdam-based effort to appoint such mayors all over the world. Cycling in Lebanon's capital is not for the faint of heart, but for the 46-year-old native of Beirut's Badaro neighborhood, biking is a highly practical and liberating way of getting around the notoriously congested city. Dagher's advocacy work will take a more formal turn when he is officially made Bicycle Mayor of Beirut Wednesday by the Amsterdam-based association BYCS.Since 2016, the Dutch association has been appointing mayors in cities such as Sydney, Sao Paulo and Mexico City, as part of its Bicycle Mayor program, the aim of which is to create a global network of representatives that may share knowledge and experiences in order to transform their respective cities into biking havens, much like Amsterdam itself. Through their representatives, BYCS's overarching goal is to increase the number of bicycle trips globally by 50 percent before 2030, a goal which gave ground to Dagher's even more ambitious vision – to see the number of cars in Beirut cut in half within the next seven years.
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