Cycling has been a long-time preferred mode of transportation in many South-East Asian countries and in developed countries too. It is preferred for its health benefits, low cost and environmental benefits. But in India, cycles are largely considered a poor man’s mode of transport. However, the recent COVID pandemic has changed things a lot.
Post-COVID pandemic Delhi and NCR saw a boost in cycling culture. Many middle-class people, who till now ignored a cycle, took it up, for its health benefits and also for the fact that it helps maintain social distancing while exercising. Something that is not possible in a gym. Now with cycling picking up the demand for safer roads for cyclists is also rising. Many also give cycling a thumps-up for its environment-friendly nature.
Traffic surveys show that cycle trips account for more than 15% of trips in most towns, and even in a large city such as Delhi, cycling accounts for over 10% of trips in the city.
Here are a few suggestions which would help develop a proper cycling culture in India. These suggestions came out when CitySpidey, talked to a few cycling enthusiasts.
-Most cyclists shared that safety is the major point while cycling on the roads.
-Cyclists demanded dedicated and exclusive cycling tracks on the city roads.
-The need for proper illumination in tracks during late hours and proper signboards was also pointed out.
-The cyclists also demanded that the cycling tracks should be encroachment and pothole-free.
-there is an utter need for proper cycle parking facilities in markets, metro train stations, and office complexes.
-Building cycling corridors through a green belt will help in attracting more cyclists.
-revamping the existing tracks and giving them a seamless integration with vehicular roads.
-Mobile Cycling App should be developed, based on points credited based on cycling mileage, to be used as a discount/promotional activity.
-Link this cycling initiative with the "Fit India" initiative of the Ministry of Sports and Prime Minister of India.
Rajiva Singh (51), a cyclist from Noida says,
“Cycling needs to be converted into a mass movement to develop so that a proper cycling culture comes up in India. Members of several cycling groups play an important role in promoting cycling. RWAs/AOAs can also work in encouraging more cycling in societies.”
Over the increasing of Air pollution in Noida and Delhi NCR, Singh says, “The need of creating an awareness among citizens for making Noida environment friendly through the use of cycling for short distances. This would help in curbing pollution in Noida to a great extent.” he shared that the places like Delhi NCR have always been trendsetters for the country for such initiatives, the nation follows examples from this region.
Neha (39), a cyclist from Dwarka says,
"In India, people had been cycling for decades but the boom in cycling was seen after COVID hit the world. Shocked by the epidemic many individuals chose a better way of living and that brought them to cycling. The Indian Government should go for more cycling clubs and promote cycling. Cycling is a great mode of transport which supports the environment too. Offices should promote cycling by giving perks to employees coming to office by bicycle.”
Neha shared her journey, becoming a serious cyclist. Says, she, “I started cycling in February 2021, and soon it became my passion. I haven't looked back since then. I work daily to improve myself. I have been recording long cycling distances such as 200km, 300km, 400km, and 600km in 52 days. If you want to be a long-distance cyclist, I believe consistency is the key. Keep going keep moving.”
Anish Kumar Saini(46), a cyclist from Noida says,
“Every year we see extreme levels of pollution especially in Delhi, NCR region, with the serious consequences on our health. There is a need to bring a cycling or healthy culture into our society. Corporates and Government offices should give some incentives to those who use a cycle for commuting. Apart from promoting cycling culture and creating cycling tracks in every city, the Government should make a mobile app like ‘Arogya Setu’ which could count the KM, which individuals could use to get additional discounts in health policy.”
Another Cyclist, Ashita Arora(39) says,
“Driving a car is far more difficult than driving a cycle. If I need to go to buy my groceries, I will pick a cycle rather than a car. We go cycling in the early morning due to heavy vehicular traffic. I have a few friends who go to the office by cycle only. Earlier people thought that going to work on a cycle means you have a low professional status. But now this attitude is changing. The president of New Zealand prefers going to his office by cycle. Authorities should develop cycle tracks and show more sensitivity towards the needs of a cyclist.”