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Malleshwaram Celebrates Cycle Day as Bengaluru Promotes Cycling Culture

Malleshwaram Celebrates Cycle Day As Bengaluru Promotes Cycling Culture

Last Sunday morning, around 200 Malleshwaram residents took to their cycles on 13th Cross Road to celebrate Cycle Day. Children hopped, skipped, and played, while mothers drew rangolis on the road. Cyclists enjoyed rides around the area, creating a festive atmosphere for everyone.

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Cycle Day, initiated in 2013 as an awareness campaign, aims to promote cycling for short trips within neighborhoods. The Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT) has partnered with communities to champion this cause. Since October 2013, there have been 570 Cycle Days in 68 neighborhoods. DULT has collaborated with about 70 Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) and civil society organizations (CSOs) to develop local solutions for promoting non-motorized transport.

Successful initiatives include Walk and Cycle to School programs and Neighborhood Improvement Plans in Sanjaynagar and HSR Layout. Bicycle infrastructure has also been implemented in about 18 government schools.

DULT highlights the positive impacts of Cycle Days on communities. “Children have started using bicycles for short trips, encouraging their parents to switch to non-motorized transport for errands. Some communities have observed greater respect and awareness from other road users towards cyclists,” says a note from DULT.

The Comprehensive Mobility Plan (CMP) for Bengaluru 2020 envisages 600 km of cycle track infrastructure by 2035. DULT has already planned to retrofit about 350 km of cycle tracks on existing roads. Designs for these tracks have been shared with BBMP. Additionally, DULT has provided cycle stands at selected metro stations and plans to expand this infrastructure. Pedal Ports, self-repair kiosks for cyclists, have been installed at various locations to support cycle usage.

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Despite these initiatives, some residents feel the reality on the ground is different. Mobility activist Sathya Sankaran notes that the city has only 6 km of cycle lanes out of the planned 600 km. Ramesh Sreekantan, a Malleswaram resident, observes that the number of ordinary cyclists has decreased post-COVID, with people now cycling more for exercise or pleasure rather than necessity.

Krishna Panyam, another Malleswaram resident and cyclist, appreciates Cycle Days for connecting cycling communities but notes that they haven’t significantly increased cycling in his area. He believes the lack of respect for cyclists and the practical challenges of implementing cycle lanes on narrow roads are major hurdles.

Pravir Bagrodia, a Whitefield resident, points out issues like wrong-side driving, pollution, and congestion as barriers to cycling. He believes that without regulating existing cycle lanes, marking new ones on bigger roads is futile.

In response to these challenges, civic groups in Malleshwaram plan to pilot a bike-sharing initiative with e-bikes. The Sampige Foundation, supported by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), will lead this project, expected to launch in July. However, some remain skeptical about the popularity of bicycle sharing in Bengaluru, noting that it has not gained widespread traction outside Europe.

 

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