THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In many countries, cycling has become a mode of commute to stave off fears during the pandemic. Urging the government to include cycling infrastructure in their city development projects, Bicycle Mayors from across the country have launched a nation-wide campaign, along with Jhatkaa.org, a Bengaluru-based digital advocacy group, to make the country cycle-friendly.
Thiruvananthapuram Bicycle Mayor Prakash P Gopinath has launched a petition in the city which has already received over 332 signatures.
The petition addressed to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan urges the government to endorse cycling as a mode of transport by releasing an advisory encouraging people to use cycles while travelling to their workplaces or whenever possible. It asks the departments concerned to set up covered cycle parking spaces with locking facilities in public places such as hospitals, railway stations, educational institutions and bus stops.
It also highlights the need to educate people about the benefits of car-free days and follow the same once a week. Traffic and road safety advisories for cyclists to follow traffic rules and other motor vehicle users to respect the cyclist’s right to use the road are also included in the petition. “Cycling is the best mode of transportation for maintaining social distancing and reducing pollution. However, hardly any efforts are made towards building good walkways and cycling infrastructure in the city,” said Prakash.
Cycling projects yet to kick off
Prakash also highlighted that a petition was sent earlier to the authorities concerned to ban the entry of motor vehicles in the Kuravankonam-Kowdiar-Vellayambalam-Museum stretch on Sundays from 5am to 10am but they are yet to receive a response.
He said that two projects by the Smart City – cycling stations in the Manaveeyam-Vazhuthacaud-Thampanoor-Padmanabhaswamy Temple-Vachiyoor-Palayam-Manaveeyam Road and bicycle tracks in the Manaveeyam road-Vazhuthacaud-Sangeeta College Road – are yet to kick off.
“Around 42 Bicycle Mayors from across India are part of the #Resetwithcycling campaign. The campaign aims at promoting infrastructure for safe cycling and motivating citizens to use cycling as the preferred mode of transportation,” said Bhairavi Joshi, director and CEO, BYCS India Foundation. As part of the Independence Day campaign, cyclists from across the country will come together and cycle, wearing masks adhering to social distancing norms.