Pedestrians and cyclists took over streets around the globe on Sunday, as miles of typically busy roads were closed to motorists for World Car Free Day.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan closed 17 miles of road across the UK capital for the event, in an attempt to highlight the need to reduce ‘harmful air pollution’ in the city.
Streets around Tower Bridge, London Bridge and the City of London were closed to traffic until 7pm, with 15 boroughs across the capital – including Hackney, Islington and Haringey – taking part in the ban.
The city’s ‘Reimagine’ event, which was launched as part of World Car Free Day, encouraged motorists to abandon their vehicles and take up other modes of transport – with an emphasis on mass transit, cycling and walking.
Cyclists were seen riding across an empty Tower Bridge (pictured) on Sunday, as London Mayor Sadiq Khan closed 17 miles of road across the capital for World Car Free Day
In central London, the annual global event was kicked off with the Re-imagine Sunrise Flow yoga class on Tower Bridge
Typically busy roads around Tower Bridge (pictured), London Bridge and the City of London were closed to traffic until 7pm
World Car Free Day was also marked across the globe, with pedestrians and cyclists in Brussels, Paris, Berlin, Lisbon, Pristina and Ethiopia seen taking to streets often densely populated with motorists.
In Paris, pedestrians were seen walking along the Jardin des Tuileries and the Champs-Elysees, which had been closed to traffic for the day as the city took part in its fourth annual ban.
The streets were also empty in Berlin as Germany marked European Mobility Week, the European Commission’s flagship campaign promoting clean and sustainable urban transport.
A ‘Fancy Woman Bike Ride’ was also organised in the German capital to celebrate the car-free day, which saw hundreds of women decorate their bicycles and wear elaborate gowns for a ride around the city.
In London, the event was kicked off with the Reimagine Sunrise Flow yoga class on Tower Bridge, before cyclists took to the empty roads in droves to take advantage of the traffic-free Sunday.
World Car Free Day was also celebrated across the globe on Sunday, with pedestrians and cyclists in Paris seen walking along the Jardin des Tuileries and the Champs-Elysees (pictured)
In the French capital (pictured), roads were cordoned off for motorists as the city took part in its fourth annual vehicle ban
Vehicle bans were also in place across the Rue de Rivoli, which was cordoned off to motorists on Sunday (pictured)
The Mayor of London has now criticised some of the city’s ‘anti-walking, anti-cycling’ borough councils, as he claimed it was ‘important for us to re-imagine what our city could be like’.
Speaking after he cycled across Tower Bridge, Mr Khan said he was frustrated that City Hall was responsible for around 5 per cent of London’s road network, with the majority controlled by local authorities.
Mr Khan said: ‘It’s really important for us to re-imagine what our city could be like. We have persuaded boroughs across London to get involved in this and we think there’s 27 kilometres in London that are now car free.’
He went on to criticise those local authorities that he said were not doing enough to reduce air pollution.
Belgium’s capital Brussels also stopped traffic for World Car Free Day, leaving roads open to people on bicycles and mobility scooters (pictured)
A couple were seen travelling through the typically busy streets on skateboards as the Belgian capital shut its roads
A dual carriageway in Brussels was entirely empty on Sunday as motorists were banned from using roads around the capital
A woman skates through the Belgian capital on a road which would typically be packed with vehicles, as cyclists pass behind
In Berlin, dozens of women decorated their bicycles with flowers and balloons as they took part in the ‘Fancy Women Bike Ride’ for World Car Free Day
Those taking part in the event dressed in gowns, flower crowns, and wore elaborate headwear as they cycled through the city
Berlin also marked European Mobility Week on Sunday, the European Commission’s flagship campaign promoting clean and sustainable urban transport
Dozens of pedestrians, cyclists and runners were also spotted enjoying a vehicle-free Sunday in Oeiras near Lisbon
‘I’m frustrated by some councils being anti-walking, anti-cycling,’ he said. ‘There are thousands of Londoners who die prematurely.’
‘We need Londoners to understand the importance of reducing the pollution on our streets.’
Asked if he would consider permanently pedestrianising roads such as Oxford Street and Parliament Square, the Mayor replied: ‘One of my frustrations is that actually very few roads in London are controlled by City Hall.
‘I have argued, for some time now, for the benefits of pedestrianising Parliament Square. I want Londoners to just imagine what is possible with fewer cars on our streets.’
The Mayor said that he was committed to raising the number of journeys taken using sustainable transport in order to reduce the amount of harmful air pollution that Londoners currently have to breathe in.
The event placed an emphasis on mass transit, cycling and walking as Londoners were urged to ditch their cars (Pictured: Regent Street)
Dozens of fitness fanatics took part a yoga class ahead of stunning sights of the City of London as a car-free day was kicked off in London
Speaking after he cycled across the usually busy Tower Bridge, Sadiq Khan said he was frustrated that City Hall was responsible for around 5 per cent of London’s road network (Pictured: cyclists on London Bridge)
At the moment 63 per cent of people travelling across the city either walk, cycle or use public transport.
Mr Khan said he hoped to bring that number up to 80 per cent by 2041 while suggesting that national government needed to do more to reduce air pollution within the capital.
‘We need support from government. Half of the bad air is caused by transport, half is caused by houses, by construction and from the river Thames.
‘There are two million Londoners, 400,000 of them children, living in areas where the air quality is illegal – that can’t be right.’
‘I’m frustrated by some councils being anti-walking, anti-cycling,’ he said. ‘There are thousands of Londoners who die prematurely’
The Mayor added that he hopes to bring the number of people who travel across the city by foot, bicycle or public transport up to 80 per cent by 2041
Mr Khan also suggested that the national government urgently needs to do more to reduce air pollution within the capital (Pictured: Tower Bridge)
Mr Khan (pictured on Sunday) said: ‘We need support from government. Half of the bad air is caused by transport, half is caused by houses, by construction and from the river Thames’
Londoners were seen relaxing on the road outside Bank underground station as London took part in World Car Free Day
London’s ‘Reimagine’ event, which was launched as part of World Car Free Day, encourages motorists to give up their vehicles for a day and take up other modes of transport (Pictured: cyclists and pedestrians outside Bank in London)