Only one out of every five cyclists in Pune uses cycle tracks while the rest use lanes meant for motorised vehicles, a survey by a city-based NGO has found.
The study was undertaken by Save Pune Traffic Movement (SPTM) and found that the proportion of cyclists using cycle tracks varies between 7 per cent and 18 per cent, depending on the location and time of day.
The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has made many efforts to make cycling easier and promote non-motorised transport. The PMC has constructed cycle tracks along several major arterial roads in the city and has a Cycle Plan and cell dedicated to resolve issues faced by cyclists.
After drafting a Comprehensive Mobility Plan (CMP) for Pune in 2008, the city had set ambitious targets for achieving modal share of 50 per cent for non-motorised transport and 40 per cent for public transportation.
To achieve this goal, the PMC had devised ‘Pune Bicycle Plan’ in 2017. Though its implementation is yet to gather momentum, some cycle tracks were added to the existing length of tracks and repairs were undertaken in other areas.
The design of these tracks was expected to follow guidelines set forth by Pune’s Urban Street Design Guidelines or the Urban Cycling Design Guidelines included in the Cycle Plan, which differ only slightly from each other.
“The new cycle tracks and adjacent footpaths largely conform to these guidelines, except in one important design element: as per these guidelines, the cycle tracks are expected to be 5 cm lower than the footpaths. However, it has been observed that virtually all new cycle tracks and the adjacent footpaths are at the same grade,” said Harshad Abhyankar, founder of SPTM.
The latest survey was conducted on major cycle tracks in the city, which included Jangli Maharaj (JM) Road, Fergusson College (FC) Road, Karve Road. At least 570 cyclists were interviewed by the volunteers at different time slots.
“It must be noted that only 8-18 per cent cyclists using cycle tracks is a fairly low number. Factors such as obstructions on the tracks, the walkability of adjacent footpaths, number and speed of vehicles on the carriageway, availability of shade on the cycle track and quality of the riding surface affect the choice of the rider to either use the tracks or the carriageway,” said Abhyankar.
If the issues faced by cyclists in using the tracks are resolved, it will not only improve usage of cycle tracks but also encourage more residents to take up cycling, he added.
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