For residents of Jayanagar, the last Sunday of 2013 was an effort in reclaiming the roads from motorists.
Over a thousand residents and enthusiastic cyclists participated in the third edition of the Cycle Day, organised every month by the Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT) along with groups such as Ride a Cycle Foundation and Praja RAAG.
Srivatsava Vajapeyam, a software developer, now believes cycling could be a possibility on Bangalore’s streets. “I used to cycle till about 12 years ago. I tried to start again, about two years ago, when I was in Germany. But I never had the courage to cycle on Bangalore’s roads. Over the next couple of months, I will try cycling at least in the protected environment of Cycle Day and then perhaps move on to the streets,” said Vajapeyam, who is suffering slight back pain, but believes the pain was worth reliving his cycling days.
He believes events such as Cycle Day are the need of the hour to change the mindset of motorists, who do not respect the space of cyclists or pedestrians.
Loknath M R, a businessman and secretary of the International Fellowship of Cyclist Rotarians, has cycled distances from 200 to 600 km during this year alone. But cycling the streets of Bangalore is something he will remember for a long time.
“It is dangerous to cycle here because motorists look at cyclists and pedestrians as obstacles in their path. We have as much a right to the road as them. This needs to be made loud and clear. Cycle Day events, by encouraging more people to cycle may help in changing this mindset. With more people cycling, officials may also be encouraged to provide more infrastructure for non-motorised transport to ensure their safety,” he said.
This is the first time that Cycle Day events were taken to a neighbourhood of the city. Apart from the 6.5 km rally that began and ended at the Shalini Grounds in Jayanagar, a stretch of road in Jayanagar was also stopped to all traffic to make way for the cyclists.
On this street, traditional games such as gulli danda, lagori, slow cycle races for children, adults and the traffic police and rangoli competition were organised.