BENGALURU: With the city to have a public bicycle sharing system soon including 384 cycle parking hubs, which was announced in the state budget last year residents can finally hope to cycle to work or for leisure but are our cycle tracks ready?
Given the condition of roads for which the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) was picked up by the Karnataka High Court recently, cycle tracks become important. Cycling tracks encourage more people to shift to cycling apart from easy availability and accessibility to cycles for last mile connectivity that needs to be taken care of by cycle sharing operators.
Bicycle Mayor Sathya Sankaran said a cycle track is not just a portion of the road on the side along the footpath but that it should be at a different level than the road. Jayanagar cycle track is a failed example while one on Residency Road has proper segregation, Sankaran said.
"The DULT hasn't built anything with the exception of Cubbon Road with two km of the track. They are expected to build 125 km but even the work hasn't begun. There are no cycle tracks anywhere in the city. On Residency Road and TenderSURE road, some cycle track is there. Richmond Road's track is completely useless as it is on the surface," he added.
St Mark's Road and road along Kanteerava Stadium has tracks along with footpath. Madiwala Lake track is not functional as it has not been done well. Indian road behaviour of encroaching tracks by vendors or for parking is also worrisome, he said. Though Residency Road is done well, it is discontinuous, he said.
Murali Krishna, special officer of Department of Urban Land Transport said that many routes are in planning stage. "A preliminary study has been done by DULT covering 100 kilometres. But no projects are currently in execution stage," he said. Tracks at Yelahanka and Sanjaynagar are in planning stages only. "The one in HSR Layout will be on a different level from the road and segregated," Krishan said.
The absence of cycle tracks shouldn't mean that people shouldn't shift to cycling, he said. "When people haven't touched cycles for years together they can't expect to navigate the city's traffic without getting hurt. That is why going to a Bicycle School is essential to learn things like giving a right-hand signal while balancing the cycle with one hand. Dr Ali Poonawala runs the classes in Cubbon Park," he said.
Cycle tracks in the city:
-- Residency Road -- From Bishop Cotton Boy's High School to Ashirwadam Circle; considered one of the well-done cycle tracks in the city
-- Cubbon Road -- Stretch from Manipal Towers has been constructed only for one way traffic and is not wide enough for two-way cycles
-- Madiwala Lake track and Jayanagar track from Ashoka Pillar are failed examples
-- A cycle track should be free from encroachments, wide enough for two-way traffic, at least three metres, continuous and at a different level than the main road