BENGALURU: Satya Shankaran, a civic activist and Bengaluru’s first bicycle mayor will be submitting a report on policies that can be implemented by the state government for cyclists.
Currently, there are approximately 45,000 cyclists in the city but no measures have been taken by the authority to promote cycling or ensure safety of the riders, he says. “The National Urban Transport Policy (NUTP) has given recommendations on how cycling can be promoted.
They are just guidelines, as cycling is a state subject but the state government hasn’t taken any action to implement any policy,” he says adding, “I am preparing a brief about the policies that can be implemented by the state government to promote cycling, and it will be submitted next month.”
He suggests separate paths or indications for cyclists about the footpaths that can be used by them. “There should be clear indications if a footpath is allowed for cyclists, and which footpaths can be used by them. There should be green and red signals for cyclists as well or a path-like pedestrian crossing for them to cross the roads,” he says.
No laws for cyclists, says legal expert
Lawyer CV Sudheendra says, there are no rules or laws for the cyclists. Helmets are not mandatory for cyclists too. “They can ride on their own risk without helmets. If they are riding bicycles on footpaths, they can be booked for obstructing free flow but they can also lift their bicycles and clear the path,” he says.
Aditya Mehta, para cyclist, says there are no rules or laws for the cyclists and hence, cases aren’t booked against them for riding without helmets. “Helmets are for their safety. It is mandatory.
Bicycles should have blinkers too,” he says. But Satya says though helmets are necessary for safety, they cannot be enforced on them, until the manufacturers are ready to lower the prices. “Cyclists are always careful. It is the motorists who are at fault, in case of an accident involving a cyclist. As bikes and cars are heavier vehicles, they tend to cause more damage,” he adds.
Lokesh KS, founder of HSR Cycling Club, says riding a bicycle in the city is more adventurous than riding it outskirts. “The traffic is a major issue. Every road should have cycling paths. At least when the government is developing new roads, they can introduce these paths there,” adds the 18-year-old.
Non-motorised transport must be given priority
The National Urban Transport Policy (NUTP) states non-motorised modes are environmentally friendly and have to be given their due share in the transport system of a city. Some of the suggestions include
The safety concerns of cyclists and pedestrians have to be addressed by encouraging the construction of segregated rights of way for bicycles and pedestrians. Such access paths can be coupled with safe bicycle parking places, to help increase use of public transport
Creative facilities like providing for shade, provision of drinking water and resting stations along bicycle corridors would also be encouraged as they can mitigate, to a large extent, adverse weather conditions
The use of the central verge along many roads, along with innovatively designed road crossings, seems to offer promise for being developed as cycle tracks
Such facilities can be constructed after an open debate on the designs with the experts and the cycling community. It is expected that such public appraisal would lead to designs that enable greater use by the potential beneficiaries