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Friday , 19 April 2024

Taking up the Cycling Cause

Do you think a segregated cycle lane and a public bike sharing system can really bring in the desired results?

Yes, of course. Despite the Government civic bodies facing major problems, they are quite positive about creating a cycling culture and introducing the Public Bike Share (PBS) system to the city. If a segregated lane and PBS system are introduced together, I am sure we will get better results since providing proper infrastructure to the cyclists at possible locations in the city is the prime requisite in promoting the use of bicycles.

A PBS System is a simple cycle rental system which not only provides the End Mile Connectivity but also the cycles for local use. The person using the PBS has the advantage of not having to worry about the hassle of maintaining the cycle and protecting it from theft. Moreover, it is conveniently available to him for short distance use.

Docking Stations should be elegant and very sturdy, and must have all the necessary features such as Automatic Locking, Swipe Card Readers, RFID Tracking, etc. A swipe card reader can be customised easily to take on board the common mobility card once such cards become popular among the riders.

What is the government?s role in creating a cycling culture?

The National Urban Transport Policy has a Non Motorised Transport System for every city. Under JNNURM, the promotion of NMT is substantially subsidised to about 50%. The State Government, too, subsides almost 1/4th of the project cost. So, implementing agencies like municipal corporations have to shell out the balance — about 1/4th of the cost. The Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) at the Centre lays emphasis on NMT and therefore, with its guidelines, the ministries in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are very keen to bring the cycling culture in their major cities.

In which areas is your organisation active in such promotion?

Since the last three years, it has been our constant endeavour to push for segregated coloured cycle lane system. We are assisting a local civic body in Pune city where the authorities wish to have trial run of a small segregated colour lane with coloured bus stop.

We have undertaken surveys at particular locations near schools and colleges in Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation where the number of cycle users is high. Surprisingly, 94% of the residents are in favour of a segregated lane for cycle rides.

Are PBS Systems progressing anywhere?

At Ahmedabad, we are assisting the local civic body for a PBS system with segregated lane — from the BRTS station to the residential and market area. This is being done to reduce traffic on a larger scale. Mysore Municipal Corporation is actively processing the proposal for PBS System. The Bangalore Municipal Corporation?s proposals have been forwarded for HSR layout through consultants. PBS system connectivity with Metro rail network is already introduced there with 10 dock stations.

Likewise, cities like Jaipur, Nagpur, Aurangabad, Nasik, Bhopal, Indore, Surat, Vadodara and Rajkot are in various stages of considering the options.

Should cities like Mumbai introduce segregated cycle lanes, PBS System and hassle free joy walking footpath?

Yes, since Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Bangalore are in the various stages of introducing Metro rail, Mono rail and BRTS, they have a great opportunity to introduce the cycling culture with the PBS system and a colourful segregated lane. Municipal corporation ward offices should identify wide roads where at least one side of the carriageway should be allocated to cyclists with proper painted kerb dividers and signage. Proper parking facility for cycles and cycle stands are equally essential while considering the above parameters near public transportation facillities. Traffic Regulatory Authority should also encourage movement of cyclists in the city.

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