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Should India also invest in cycle lanes like UK to encourage people to ride bikes

United Kingdom to invest in cycle lanes to encourage people to ride bikes to work

Boris Johnson’s UK government announced a $2.5 billion package to put cycling and walking at the heart of Britain’s after post-COVID-19 transportation plan. The aim is to reduce the number of travellers in public transport and gridlocks on roads.

UK Transport Secretary Grant Secretary said that the measures would contribute to a greener and healthier recovery amid the global pandemic. He also said that with new social distancing norms of two-meters distance, there is a capacity of only 1 in 10 passengers in many parts of the public transport network. He also said that more cycling and walking presents a “health opportunity” for people to become more fit and improve their physical and mental health.

How many people cycle to work in the UK

Data suggests that Cycling in the UK accounted for 1.7 per cent of all trips in 2018. This record has barely changed in the last 17 years. 16.7 per cent of the people walked or cycled to their work in 2018, two-thirds drove or took a taxi.  Cycling in total accounted for a mere 1 per cent of the mileage accumulated by all vehicular road traffic.

Cycling is more common in countries like the Netherlands, Denmark and Norway. Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark is one of the most cycling-friendly cities in the world. 41 per cent of trips to work and school in 2016 took place on bicycles in Copenhagen. The goal of the city is to increase it to 50 per cent. Copenhagen cycling culture includes parents navigating main roads to their kids on their bikes or cycling beside them. There is a special “traffic playground” in the city where kids under eight come to learn to ride a bike in a mini-version of the city, with pedestrian walkaways, traffic lights and other urban features.

Read more: Where India stands in World lockdown Index (Stringency Index)? Are we the best!

Cycling in India

In India, cycling is mostly related to people who can’t afford other mediums of transportation or people who are very passionate about cycling. We don’t have a culture of going to work or schools in a bicycle. However, in villages, kids use a bicycle on a daily basis to reach school. In metropolitan cities, you will hardly see people cycling around to work or school. Lack of cycle lanes and the stigma attached to it that only poor people ride a bicycle are the main reasons that we do not ride cycle a lot.

India needs to learn from the UK government and invest some money in building the infrastructure and promoting the bicycle-culture in cities. It won’t only save money and make us fitter but also help us in reducing pollution.

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