The Telegraph
Wednesday , April 23 , 2014
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Cycle-friendly city still a dream
8.3km track used by bikes

Bhubaneswar, April 22: Several residents of the city are coming forward to promote cycling as a green mode of transport. However, Bhubaneswar lacks the basic infrastructure required for this.

The public works department (PWD) had built an 8.3km track on both sides of road from Raj Bhavan Square to KIIT Square dedicated to bicycles. But at present, motorcyclists are using this track. Parts of the track have also turned into parking lots making life difficult for cyclists.

A group of youngsters had recently organised a cycling event named “Back on Pedals” to promote cycling in the city. Though hundreds of people took part in the event, most of them pointed out that Bhubaneswar did not have the infrastructure for safe cycling.

“Though the track is meant for cyclists, one can spot motorcycles on it. The tracks have also been damaged at various places,” said Chandra Sekhar Biswal, a student who took part in the event.

The citizens also demanded proper cycling tracks in the city.

“The authorities can demarcate 0.5metre on every existing roads of the city and separate it for cyclists. There should also be parking lots for cycles in the city,” said Piyush Rout, an urban management practitioner.

A number of designated cycle parking lots existed on the premises of state secretariat.

However, they have now been converted into car parking spaces. While the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation had stopped giving cycle licences from 2011, civic officials said that cycle licences had been issued to around 29,000 people.

However, a member of the group that had organised the cycling event said the city has around 80,000 cycles and most of them were being used by schoolchildren.

Environmentalists too feel that the city needs to promote cycling as a green mode of transport. “The city has been witnessing an increase in the number of vehicles. This will result in an alarming rate of air pollution in the future. So, the authorities need to popularise cycling. Senior bureaucrats and government officials should lead from the front by covering small distances on bicycles to change the mindset of the people,” said Bijay Mishra, an environmentalist.

On the other hand, assistant commissioner of police (traffic) Binod Das said they had started a drive to remove encroachment from the cycle track.