Cycle joy comes full circle

Despite hurdles, Bengaluru Cycle Day hopes to revive pedalling

Cycle joy comes full circle

Dubbed “dangerous” by the City traffic police, cycling in Bangalore has been reduced to a commute habit restricted to a mere 10,000 bravehearts! Well-intended but poorly enforced exclusive cycle-lanes in Jayanagar and other areas have come a cropper.

Undaunted by these setbacks, yet another initiative is now on in the City to push Bangaloreans to the eco-friendly pedal: The “Feel Bengaluru Cycle Day” campaign.
Anchored by the Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT), Praja-RAAG,  and a collective of cycling and sustainable transport groups, the campaign will hit the roads on Sunday, October 27.

Here’s how the campaign will unfold: The last Sunday of every month, you could take out your cycle and pedal all the way to Cubbon Park. If the Park is too far, head straight to the nearest “Feel Bengaluru” hub (BMTC’s Traffic and Transit Management Centre) and board a special shuttle to the Park. You could carry the cycle in the shuttle.  

The shuttles will operate from 7 am to 10 am from the TTMCs at Domlur (for East-side riders), Shanthinagar (for South-side riders), Koramangala (for Southeast-side riders), Yeshwantpur (for riders from North-side localities) and Vijayanagar (for riders from West-side localities).

Simply put, the idea is to build a critical mass of people who would swear by cycling as a workable commute mode. Here’s the method, as explained by a Praja-RAAG insider: “While the government is working on infrastructure to make the City more cycle-friendly, we're trying to initiate people into cycling with a monthly early morning leisure ride to Cubbon Park.”

Poor lane enforcement

But as the Jayanagar cycle lane project clearly demonstrated, infrastructure building is not being backed by enforcement. While DULT prepared the Detailed Project Report (DPR) based on its Non-Motorised Transport (NMT) study for Jayanagar, the 40 km lane from Kanakanapalya to South End and from Kanakapura road to Bannerghatta road was not strictly monitored.

Result: Car drivers and motorcyclists invaded the lane for parking!

A top police official who had worked closely with City traffic was clear that dedicated cycle lanes was not workable in a road network choked with 50 lakh motorised vehicles. The Jayanagar lane, he reminded, did not attract more than 10 cycles a day.

Yet cycle enthusiasts and the project partners are convinced that better coordination by the police and the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) could bring the non-motorised two-wheelers back to the mainstream. DULT has identified areas in Koramangala, HSR Layout and Indiranagar besides Jayanagar where this could indeed work.

This is precisely why the brains behind “Feel Bengaluru Cycle Day” want to push the campaign to other areas. “In the months that follow, we want to expand the campaign to promote cycling to work and school (the school programme will take place in Jayanagar) with the aid of traffic police and volunteers to ensure smooth and safe travel,” informed a Praja-RAAG volunteer.

As a first step, informal and formal meetups, workshops and events will be lined up at Cubbon Park on the Cycle Day every month.

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