Now, paddle your way across Delhi
By: Amit Singh
All major city roads to have separate cycle lanes; cyclists jubilant
If it was safety that was on your mind to take up cycling as the way of commuting to your office and the
nearby market, you can smile easy.
Safe and healthy: Some roads in Delhi still have dedicated lanes in Delhi while work on some is on
The Delhi government has decided to construct separate cycle lanes on all major roads to make the city "cycle-friendly". As a consequence many of those who would not have dared to choose a cycle over the fuel guzzling motor vehicle, for the fear of being crushed under the wheels of millions of vehicles zipping past them, could take up the bicycle.
The decision came after a delegation of Delhi Cycling Club (DCC) -- a bicycle advocacy group -- submitted a memorandum of demands to Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit last month. The group sought her urgent intervention to make Delhi roads safer and build suitable infrastructure and facilities for lakhs of people who commute by bicycle but are always at the risk of pushed or hit by motor vehicles.
The Chief Minister, in a letter, assured that work on street-scaping on various roads of Delhi is being carried out, and dedicated space for cyclists would be created on all these roads. "Other suggestions are also relevant and would be under consideration to promote this mode of transport. In a city like Delhi, cycling would be the most effective mode of transport to combat pollution and congestion on the roads."
Welcoming the decision, Nalin Sinha -- convenor of DCC - said, "It is a very positive step. The government has decided to include bicycle in its policy and planning and acknowledged the benefits and potential of promoting cycling. Government will have to spend only a fraction of its road and flyover budget to develop safe and segregated bicycle lanes and cyclist-friendly infrastructure and facilities in the entire city."
"Once the dedicated lanes and bicycle friendly facilities are introduced, we are confident to see a large number of people leaving their motor-vehicles behind and take up cycling as an alternative transportation, especially for short-distance trips," Sinha added.
In year 2006 more than 150 cyclists people were killed and 450 injured in various road accidents in Delhi.
Those who were planning to shift to cycling are also happy with the decision. "I wanted to take up cycling as an alternate transport, but am not able to do so in the absence of safety and lack of cyclists-friendly infrastructure. Now with this new lane coming up, it will be easier for me to commute safely," said Vasu Jaiswal, a resident of Malviya Nagar.
"Cyclists are often treated as unwanted and unlawful users of the roads by motor vehicle users. Even where there are few bicycle lanes, it's mostly encroached by street vendors, car parking, dumped waste, or it has two-wheelers and auto-rickshaws forcibly using them. I hope the new lanes will be well maintained," said, Kumar Vikram Singh, who resides in South Extension.
11.2 million Number of vehicles in Delhi NCR
85 Number of cars in Delhi per 1000 residents
|Other demands raised by DCC|
>> Develop adequate, affordable and secure bicycle parking and rental facilities.
>> Allocate separate budget for improving the infrastructure, safety and facilities for cyclists in the next annual budget of Delhi government.
>> Ensure better enforcement of bicycle lane use.
>> Start safe cycling to school programme for children.
Allow some bicycles to be carried in Metro and DTC buses.