Pedal to tackle mobility crisis in city
Cycling to work may soon become a reality in Delhi and not just for the poor. With pollution and shrinking road space, the capital is under pressure to adopt the Netherlands model that promotes cycling as an alternative to driving.
"Cycle is the future in India but the voice has to reach out," said Pankaj Munjal, president-designate, All India Cycles Manufacturers' Association.
Every Sunday, Munjal and a group of 150 cyclists from different walks of life assemble at the Lutyen's Bikers' Zone between Rashtrapati Bhavan and India Gate in the capital for 45 minutes of vigorous biking and bike-related discussions which end with a small feast.
The bikes roll in every category from regular models priced Rs 10,000 to the designer models at Rs 1.5 to 2 lakh, Munjal added.
A new study unveiled on March 22 by the Centre for Science and Environment says Delhi has to wake up to the mobility crisis with non-conventional, eco-friendly and easier systems of transport.
"Increased use of car in the capital has reduced the carrying capacity of roads and by 2020, if the capital has to meet its target of 80 per cent of public transport share, it will have to spend more on cycling and walking," the study said.
The report says with the "new biking and walking facilities in some parts of Delhi like the BRT stretch between Ambedkar Nagar and Pragati Maidan, Vikas Marg from ITO to Laxmi Nagar, the Tughlaqabad stretch and the Noida Link Road – built post-Commonwealth Games – cycling is still seen as a street scraping rather than continuous well-designed usable system."
We have political commitment, will and interest. We are not looking at cycling and walking as a small solution but as a long term measure, said Sunita Narain, director-general of the CSE, at a forum, "Our Right of Way: Walk and Cycle".
Doctors say cycling is good for health, but lack of dedicated tracks for cyclists in Delhi and NCR is a concern.