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On a risky track

Facing hurdles
Last Updated : 03 April 2016, 18:37 IST
Last Updated : 03 April 2016, 18:37 IST
Last Updated : 03 April 2016, 18:37 IST
Last Updated : 03 April 2016, 18:37 IST

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Thanks to increasing health awareness and concern for environment, more and more cyclists are hitting the roads of Bengaluru. However, cycling still is  a risky business if one looks at the fatal accident involving a cyclist recently. The cycling enthusiasts too are raising their concerns and pointing out the need to make roads safer for them as well.

Bengaluru is not safe for anyone, says Murali Ramanath from ‘Namma Cycle’ which is part of ‘Ride A Cycle Foundation’.

“No vehicle is safe here and pedestrians are at a far bigger risk. Cyclists are not at as much risk as in other cities but compared to other countries, we have a long way to go,” he says. Murali points out that there are many things that need to be focussed on. “Creating awareness among cab drivers is important. Also roads like Kanakapura Road need to have special cycling tracks. Safety gadgets, including LED lights ,should be given to cyclists on the time of purchase itself,” he says. He adds that sensitive thinking towards cycling is needed.

Srinidhi S, who cycles often, says that there are many things that cyclists, motorists and the government can do. “It’s a tough ride here. For cyclists, it is always better to avoid high-speed corridors and take service roads as traffic is slower and manageable there. Also, safety gear, like bright clothes, is a requisite. Wearing a fluorescent jacket, proper helmets and having blinking lights on both ends of the cycle are critical especially while riding early in the morning or late in the evening. When turning or making any movement, cyclists should give clear signals, to let others on the road know,” says Srinidhi, a member of ‘Praja’. 

As for the motorists, the universal ‘3-metre-rule’ should apply here. “When in a high traffic area, a 3-metre-distance needs to be maintained between motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. Even if this isn’t made a law, drivers can practice this themselves,” he says. Refresher courses for cabs should also be made mandatory, when they go for licence renewal. “Now cabs are everywhere and respect for cyclists and pedestrians needs to be inculcated in them.” He adds that infrastructure-wise, there should be proper parking spaces for cycles and also proper markings for them to ride. Rohan Kini from ‘Bums Of The Saddles’, says that it is essential that the cyclists watch their own back.

“There is zero lane discipline here and sometimes even basic common sense while driving seems to be missing. Cycles being lighter vehicles get impacted more,” he says. Rohan adds that since cyclists are more vulnerable to accidents, other motorists need to be sensitive towards them. “Awareness among cyclists and motorists is a must. It is weird to see cyclists often listening to music while cycling on roads, without helmets and proper lighting— this is perfect recipe for a disaster. One has to be careful first for others around to respect one’s space,” he says.

For someone who cycles daily, Archana Sheshagiri, says that cyclists end up commanding their space on the road as they are not given this. “If you don’t demand it, you don’t get. Some concrete solution has to be figured out for this,” she says.
     “There is an indifferent attitude towards cyclists here. There are even people who say that cyclists should not be on the road as they do not pay road tax! A change in the attitude of the motorists is what is utmost needed,” she says.

Archana says that regular monitored bicycle lanes are the way to go.
“One of the issues that we face is that other motorists try to nudge us off the road. If a fixed space is given to cycles, the passion to cycle will also increase and there will be lesser chaos and traffic on the road,” she says.

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Published 03 April 2016, 14:02 IST

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