Naidu bats for developing cycling ecosystem in cities in post-COVID era
He said most university campuses have vast spaces where students can easily use bicycles. Observing that the pandemic has changed the way we live, buy, utilise our time and commute, the vice president pointed out that restrictions in many cities across the world have resulted in a reduction of motorised traffic and an increased use of bicycles and walking to commute.PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 28-11-2020 19:33 IST | Created: 28-11-2020 19:31 IST
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Saturday called for promoting cycling culture and creating exclusive tracks in cities. He observed that cycling is a healthy, low-cost exercise and provides several benefits, including zero pollution. Delivering the key-note address at an international webinar on 'Cycling in the post-COVID world' via video link, Naidu said there is a need to create a mass movement to encourage cycling through rigorous awareness campaigns and regular promotional events. Terming the webinar theme as timely and important, he called for collective global efforts to make the planet greener and safer. He urged the youth, especially university students to take upcycling. He said most university campuses have vast spaces where students can easily use bicycles.
Observing that the pandemic has changed the way we live, buy, utilise our time and commute, the vice president pointed out that restrictions in many cities across the world have resulted in a reduction of motorised traffic and increased use of bicycles and walking to commute. Noting that cycling was one of the best ways to reduce the risk associated with a sedentary lifestyle, he said it provides several benefits in the form of zero dependence on energy sources, zero pollution, and improved health.
"Additionally, bicycles can provide critical support to the urban and rural poor who do not have access to the basic mobility," an official statement quoted him as saying. Stating that the pandemic has provided a rare opportunity to promote and integrate cycling into the urban transport system, he advised urban planners and policymakers to have a re-look at their plans and policies and earmark exclusive cycling tracks.
Observing that many urban cycling networks in Europe, China and the US have seen a surge in traffic, Naidu said there was a huge potential for promoting cycling in India and called for providing the necessary infrastructure. He said traffic surveys revealed cycle trips account for more than 15 per cent of trips in most towns and added this was the right time to promote cycling as it reduces noise pollution, improves road safety and also helps in addressing the increasing energy import bill.
Quoting a recent study, he said it was estimated that the use of bicycles in place of two-and four-wheelers for short-distance trips in India could result in an annual benefit of USD 24.3 billion. "However, the absence of a cycling ecosystem is preventing it from becoming the preferred mobility solution for all sections of the society," the vice president lamented. Stressing the need to ensure that the post-COVID world is greener and more resilient, Naidu urged cities to plan city-wide bicycle-sharing schemes, implement public bike-sharing systems, create a mechanism for the carbon credit system to benefit cyclists and promote e-bicycles.
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