Written by Sumedha Sharma
While the UT administration has spent approximately Rs 25 crore on laying 180 km of bicycle tracks across the city, cyclists says the city has a long way to go before it can call itself bicycle-friendly. “The tracks are not planned well, and they can only be used in the day. Once it gets dark, it’s difficult to pedal on these tracks given that you can’t see overhanging cables, puddles and other hazards,” said Sunaina Bansal, founder of Cyclegiri.
While lauding the administration for laying these tracks, she said a change of mindset is needed as well. ‘’Cyclists should be given right of way on the road. This will encourage more people to start pedalling.’’
She also said that tracks have not been marked well on all slip roads and roundabouts in the southern sectors, due to which car drivers and bikers use them unknowingly. Cyclists complained that signals are also not well-coordinated for them.
Abhishek, winner of the Asian Cycling Championship, said, “I am the kind of person who always cycles from point A to B. The efforts of the Chandigarh administration are highly appreciated but there is a lot of scope for improvement as we need very safe roads for cycling, otherwise it can be very dangerous to pedal here.”
Saranpreeti from the Punjab Bikers Club called for installing separators at the entry and exit points of cycle tracks to stop other motorists from trespassing. “The purpose of laying a cycling track is more than just marking coloured strips. It has to designed in such a way that cyclists are given preference and other vehicles keep away.’’
A retired Army officer said, ‘’I don’t have a fancy cycle and I find cycling on the smooth roads a lot easier than on the bumpy and unevenly laid tracks in the south.” Shivangi V, a student of Strawberry School, said schools will do well to promote cycling among people of the city. ‘’Right now, students are dropped by their parents because it is not considered cool to cycle. The authorities must generate awareness about advantages of cycling and how it is the way forward to a pollution-free city.’’