Why we need a bet­ter bi­cy­cle master plan

A ded­i­cated plan will have ad­van­tages such as safer streets, re­duced lev­els of air, noise pol­lu­tion and a cut in emis­sions

HT Estates - - Front Page - PSN Rao

Mo­bil­ity in ur­ban ar­eas is be­com­ing dif­fi­cult, thanks to the in­creas­ing num­ber of ve­hi­cles. While there are many al­ter­na­tives for speedy, af­ford­able and clean mass trans­porta­tion sys­tems, one of the most sus­tain­able modes of per­sonal trans­port con­tin­ues to be the bi­cy­cle.

Un­for­tu­nately, for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons, the share of bi­cy­cle trans­port has been de­creas­ing in al­most all cities for which there are valid rea­sons. Cli­matic con­di­tions in some parts, in­ad­e­quate in­fra­struc­ture and lim­ited com­fort are some of them. How­ever, there is still a size­able num­ber of per­sons in most of ur­ban In­dia who, even to­day, use the bi­cy­cle as a means of trans­port. The ques­tion, there­fore, is whether the city is de­signed to ac­com­mo­date cy­clists.

While we have master plans, we hardly have any pro­vi­sions for cy­clists. The master plan of a city, as a macro doc­u­ment, pro­vides var­i­ous pro­posed land uses and ma­jor trans­porta­tion pro­pos­als. But no specifics are ever men­tioned in them.

Most of the well-planned cities across the world have bi­cy­cle master plans (BMP). For in­stance, Lon­don, New York, Los An­gles, Seat­tle, Port­land, Paris, Amsterdam, Copen­hagen, etc have wellthought-out BMPs. One of the com­pre­hen­sive BMPs in re­cent times is that of the City of Port­land in Ore­gon, USA, pre­pared for 2030. It aims to make Port­land clean- er and health­ier with a sus­tain­able trans­port sys­tem.

The ad­van­tages of cy­cling are many — streets are safer, re­duced lev­els of air and noise pol­lu­tion, a cut in emis­sions, less de­pen­dency on fos­sil fu­els, com­fort of per­son­alised form of trans­port and af­ford­able re­duced use of space. It also im­proves the health of the res­i­dents.

Spe­cific cy­cling cor­ri­dors, neigh­bour­hoods and cir­cuits could be planned and prop­erly-de­signed in­fra­struc­ture is put in place for cy­clists to travel safely and smoothly.

Other mea­sures in­clude cre­at­ing park­ing bays, pro­vid­ing am­ple light­ing and rest­ing places, and seg­re­ga­tion with other modes of trans­port in the city.

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