NEW DELHI: In April, the United Nations General Assembly declared 3 June as World Bicycle Day, acknowledging the “uniqueness, longevity, and versatility” of the bicycle. For a long time now, the bicycle has been recognised as a sustainable mode of transportation that is simple, affordable, reliable, clean, and enhances urban mobility and access. The Assembly welcomed communities around the world to organise bicycle rides and other such events to promote physical and mental health and well-being and develop a culture of cycling in society. Several Indian cities participated in the celebrations in different ways. Here are some highlights from New Delhi and Bangalore.
Over 10,000 cyclists came out to the streets of New Delhi to celebrate World Bicycling Day. The city also chose this day to launch its bike sharing system in the core city area, which was inaugurated by Venkaiah Naidu, Vice President of India, Dr Harsh Vardhan, Minister for Environment, Forests, and Climate Change, and Meenakshi Lekhi, MP, New Delhi. Also present were the chairman of New Delhi Municipal Council, Naresh Kumar, NextBike’s Sebastian Schlebusch, and former Miss World, Manisha Chillar.
In Bangalore, the recently elected Bicycle Mayor for the city, Sathya Sankaran, led a 10 km ride with a hundred cyclists, while celebrations took place in different parts of the city. In Sanjay Nagar, in north Bangalore, hundreds of people attended Cycle Day where streets were closed off to traffic to allow people to reclaim the streets for walking and cycling. In HSR Layout, in south Bangalore, iCycle organised an event to promote cycling in the area.
“Citizen engagement is a critical part of the process,” says Sathya, “Smart solutions and technology for last mile connectivity will drive demand, but infrastructure to support this has to happen in parallel.”
Moving forward, under the leadership of the Bicycle Mayor, Bangalore hopes to bring together various initiatives in the city under the Council for Change umbrella. Through this program, various types of ‘nudges’ like awareness, education, and training will be implemented to affect behavioural change towards increasing cycling. Alongside, the program will focus on working with industry and government to bring in supply-side measures that can influence scale.