BENGALURU : The city saw its first Cycle Day on October 27, 2013, in Cubbon Park. Proposed by advocacy group Praja RAAG, Directorate of Urban Land Transport implemented it in tandem with communities, to create awareness on cycling and open street concepts. A total of 420 cycle days and five years later, 35 communities are currently taking it up independently or with support from DULT, on any Sunday of the month.
Now, DULT has observed that the cycle count has gone up. For example, in Sanjaynagar, the number of children using cycles to schools has gone from five to 45, according to officials. Owing to the success, they plan to start Cycle Days in other districts of Karnataka, similar to in Bengaluru.
“Today, we get a minimum of ten requests from RWAs, asking us how to go about conducting cycle days. We manage to give approval to only five. There has been an increase in the awareness about cycling and non-motorised transport, with the cycle count going up. For example, we started cycle day in Mahalakshmi Layout last month. We arranged for 50 cycles and the residents bought around 50 of their own. We plan to expand this to other cities and towns in Karnataka,” said Murali Krishna, special officer of DULT.
Smart cities to take part
“In co-ordination with the local administration, we plan to implement it in 10 city corporations. Some of these include, Tumkur, Hubli-Dharwad, Mangaluru, Shivamogga, Belagavi, Davangere, Ballari,” Murali added.
There are two elements to Cycle Day. One, blocking a portion of the road for games and other activities. Two, cycling on a set three to five kilometre path. As trip lengths are shorter in the above mentioned places compared to Bengaluru, it is expected that adopting cycles will be easier. This project will be executed in smart cities using special purpose vehicles (SPV).
A self-declaration form and rules to be followed while conducting cycle days, is handed out to residents in the city. DULT takes care of the permission from the traffic police. Five hundred metres to one km is cordoned off for the open street activities. The traffic police help temporarily block vehicles, when citizens cycle of the chosen three to five kilometre route.
A few areas that take up Cycle Day are: Subramanyanagar, Indiranagar, Domlur, HAL old airport road, HSR layout, RR Nagar, Mahalakshmipuram, Vijayanagar, Yelahanka, Malleswaram, Rajajinagar, Jayanagar,Whitefield, JP Nagar, Padmanabhanagar, HRBR layout, Shivajinagar, Banashankari, Gayathrinagar, Electronic city, Shantinagar, etc.
Bicycle Mayor suggestions to Cong manifesto
At the recent Indian National Congress Manifesto Committee meet, Bicycle Mayor Sathya Sankaran suggested:
■ Annual budgetary allocation of `10 crore for initiatives such as Cycle Day, open streets, cycle to work campaign
■ Implement congestion charging and imposition of parking fees
■ Implement minimum of 500 km of segregated cycle tracks in Bengaluru, with an allocation of `1,000 crore
■ Implement minimum of 1,000 km of walkable footpaths, with an allocation of `2,000 crore