What Steps can be taken by Municipal Corporation to promote cycling in city?
Emulate cycling model of Pune
Over the past few years, there has been a steady rise in bicycle’s popularity across the state. Fed up with sedentary lifestyle, more and more people are taking up cycling for transport, recreation and sport. This humble aerobatic exercise improves our physical and mental fitness levels and solves society’s serious problems such as traffic congestion, environmental pollution and climate change. The lockdown has given an extra fillip to this new trend. The bicycle industry has witnessed an unprecedented boom in sales as cooped-up residents tried to beat cabin fever through recreational cycling in open spaces with fresh air, and used this cost-effective alternative for commuting in the absence of public transport. But like other old cities, roads in Jalandhar are not cycle-friendly. Cycling has always been a risky venture due to perennially rough, pot-holed, patchy and crowded roads, poor lights, rash and drunken driving, and blatant violations of traffic rules. Expressing genuine concern over inadequate road infrastructure in the city, residents/enthusiastic cyclists have repeatedly been requesting the MC authorities to develop well-designed, integrated, safe and more relaxing cycle tracks or special cycling zones, but to no avail. The Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry has also advised states to promote cycling and other non-motorised vehicles to prevent the transmission of the deadly virus. Under the Smart City Project, the civic body should emulate the Bangaluru and Pune models, remove encroachments from roads and pavements, and create mandatory cycle lanes, wherever possible. Meanwhile, efficient speed management, limited plying of cars and using parks and school or college playgrounds will help sustain the surging renewed interest in cycling.
D S Kang
Need of exclusive cycling zones
It is heartening to see people increasingly resorting to cycling as a trusted tool of physical fitness regimen. It is a pollution free, reliable and safe alternative for public transport, the Covid-19 Pandemic in India. The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, had already advised for developing pedestrianisation of at least three markets and more bicycles lanes in every city. The MC must rise to the occasion and take all necessary steps to encourage cycling by providing basic infrastructure and support. Ensuring exclusive lanes for cyclists is thus a difficult proposition even if lanes for cyclists are newly-constructed or separately earmarked. The idea of declaring exclusive zones for cyclists and pedestrians where no vehicular movement is allowed is practically possible and must be done without delay. Further, the sites for free cycling parking at prominent places be identified and suitably developed. There is big scope of cycling renting from point to point and the authorities may explore the possibilities in consultation with private players under regulated norms.
MC cash-strapped, who will build tracks?
With most of us working from home, traffic on road is less and has given us an opportunity to reclaim the space for cycling. The state government says it does not have even funds. The state economy is in doldrums. In such a situation, it is almost impossible to fulfill the demand of residents. Residents need to be satisfied with the present infrastructure for cycling. It would be frivolous to seek any such infrastructure during this time.
Make city more cycle friendly
Cycling proved to be a good alternate to health clubs and gyms which were lying inoperative since long. Earlier, there used to be cycling tracks in the metros, which lost way due to increasing number of motorised vehicles, but now the need for their revival is being felt. It would be great if the civic authorities took the initiative to revamp cycle tracks in city.
Separate Cycle tracks need of the hour
Cycling zones or lanes are essentially required as the Covid-19 induced lockdowns and its aftermaths have compelled people for everyday cycling. This new trend among the people has resulted in the sale of bicycles manifold. The Punjab Municipal Infrastructure Development Company (PMIDC) must sort out this pending issue at the earliest and do its bit for the public. Hopefully, if this consistent demand of the residents’ echoes with the exponent of the Smart City project, I think the day is not far when the separate zones for non-motorised vehicles will see the light of day. All representatives of the government should come on board with one another to help the cycle aficionados. Carving out tracks for the cyclists can be a great encouragement and will obviously bring a big boom in the health and the fitness sector. With schools, colleges and universities being shut, the students of all age groups are looking forward to adopt the traditional way to keep themselves active and agile. The administration needs to take a plunge to ensure their safety and security by laying out separate cycling zones.
Simranjeet Singh Saini
Cycling good for health, environment
There has been a sharp increase in the demand for cycles during the Covid-19 pandemic as it is good form of exercise as well eco-friendly transportation option. The city is not in a position to provide the required infrastructure in case the people prepared to adopt cycling as a preferable mode of conveyance. The vehicular traffic may come down and need of the hour is to reserve a separate lane for cyclists on the same road. Building new track is not feasible as the cycling craze is temporary because of the closures of gyms in the city. However, since the city has been chosen to be developed as smart city, providing separate lanes for cyclists may be a part of the master plan. People must come forward to adopt cycling as a part of modern living, where environment and health consciousness are primary concern.
Set up Cycling grounds and parks in city
The residents are totally right and have foresight for asking the authorities to create lanes for non-motorised vehicles,especially cycling zones.There are three-pronged advantages for the same. Firstly, cutiing down on the use of fuels like petrol and diesel, secondly reducing the pollution and thirdly health benefits. In most European countries and the US, cycling is very popular among the people.They cycle whenever they find it convenient. In those countries there are special cycling lanes and zones. Here also, more so in Punjab, cycling is emerging as the new fad. More and more people are buying cycles and demand is increasing. The Municipalities should cater to the need so that people are encouraged to use cycles for commuting and exercising. But the question is whether our roads are worthy of having cycling lanes? They are already in pitiable condition and there is chaos of all sorts. The only solution would be to create cycling grounds and parks where cycling enthusiasts can enjoy cycling.
MC cannot provide cycling zones
In a country like India, if residents are demanding for cycling zones then I would say it is a weird demand from the Municipal Corporation (MC). The residents need to understand this that they are not in the US, Canada or some European country. Since the gyms are closed due to the Covid, everyone wants to be fit. So, few people of city are becoming cyclists, and now are demanding for cycling zones, which is really amusing. The MC is not capable of maintaining roads for normal commuters. How the MC can build special cycling zones? The demand for personalised form of transport has gone up as a response to the outbreak and as a result several countries around the world are now embracing quick cycling interventions. Paris is in the process of creating 650 km of pop-up cycle ways. Britain has decided to invest £ 2 billion in cycling and walking. This is the difference between the developed nations and India.
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