Cycle: A Promising Solution for Sustainable Urban Transportation in the Future
Redefining Corporate Social Responsibility: A Roadmap for India
February 23, 2023
Empowering Specially-Abled Athletes: The Rise of Blind Cricket and Para Sports in India
Empowering Specially-Abled Athletes: The Rise of Blind Cricket and Para Sports in India
February 25, 2023

Cycle: A Promising Solution for Sustainable Urban Transportation in the Future

Cycle: A Promising Solution for Sustainable Urban Transportation in the Future

Cycle: A Promising Solution for Sustainable Urban Transportation in the Future

The Cycle, as we know it today, was invented in the early 19th century. Its prototype, created by a German inventor named Karl von Drais in 1817, was called the “running machine” or “Draisine”, which had two wheels propelled by the rider pushing their feet along the ground. From then to the Cycle as we know it today has gone through many exciting change processes, with its popularity changing over the decades.

In general, bicycle use declined in the mid-20th century due to several factors. This included the rise of the automobile industry, increased suburbanization, and societal attitudes toward transportation. In many countries, the post-World War II economic boom increased car ownership and suburbanization. This, in turn, led to the construction of more roads and highways. This made it easier and more convenient for people to drive cars. As a result, bicycles’ use as a primary transportation mode declined.

However, in the last two decades, there has been a significant increase in the usage of Bicycles. Several factors, such as health and fitness, environmental concerns, urban congestion, investment in Cycling infrastructure, and community building, drive this. A study conducted by Institute for Transportation and Development Policy forecasted that bicycling in the current post-pandemic phase is set to increase by 50-60 percent across the country.

Cycling is the mode of most sustainable urban transportation as it causes virtually no environmental damage, promotes health through physical activity, takes up little space, and is economical in direct user and public infrastructure costs. Moreover, it is feasible for short trips and medium-distance trips too long to cover by walking. In short, Cycling is environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable. And several countries have recognized this potential and tried to work towards improving infrastructure around the Cycle.

The first and most extensive efforts to promote more and safer Cycling were in Western Europe, especially in the Netherlands, Denmark, and Germany, starting in the 1970s and continuing today. You can easily spot Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte making news by receiving foreign guests on the Cycle.

India’s approach has not been so radical. However, several initiatives have been taken. A prominent one has been the “Cycles4Change Challenge”, an initiative the ministry of housing and urban affairs executed to implement cycle-friendly infrastructure. Launched under the Smart Cities Mission, the challenge has seen initiatives by many cities that have started undertaking different ways to enhance cycling infrastructure and promote cycling culture. In addition, many metro cities also have executed initiatives to promote Cycling as Sustainable Urban Transportation. For instance, New Delhi has started creating cycle lanes at significant points in cities. Bengaluru became the first Indian city to create a pop-up cycle lane on the city’s outer ring road. Whereas Mumbai started a public bike-sharing service at some of its metro stations.

Irrespective of all these efforts, Cycle has yet to become India’s go-to mode of transport. Most of India sees it as a vehicle of the poor and resists using it. It is just annotated for the fitness freaks. India city infrastructure is also to blame here as the roads are so unsafe that you can take a cycle out of your society. Mounting scientific evidence from cities worldwide demonstrates the crucial need to provide physically separated, protected Cycling facilities on major roads with high-volume and fast-moving vehicular traffic.

There is an urgent need to develop cycle-friendly infrastructure in major metro cities in India. Cycle superhighways are being throughout the world, providing safe movement of bikes. Such express bike routes increase the speed and safety of long-distance Cycling by providing separate bike paths parallel to major roads, with minimal road crossings and sometimes with a green wave of synchronized traffic signals at intersections timed for faster Cycling.

The Cycle industry has an opportunity to promote cycling culture in India through its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives. India is the second-largest producer of bicycles worldwide, with several multinational companies operating in the country. Therefore, investing in promoting cycling culture as sustainable urban transportation can ultimately benefit these companies long term. Additionally, companies should focus on developing innovative and affordable products that cater to the needs of the Indian middle class.

Companies should increase the look and feel of their product to appeal to the younger generation. Companies with the government’s support should make the Cycle a style statement among the masses. This is only possible with the massive brand makeover of cycles. Small innovations such as e-cycles, Bluetooth, and Wifi friendly cycles will appeal to a younger audience. Government should form policies that help lower manufacturing costs in India, supporting the “Make in India” initiative as a byproduct.

The Cycle is one of the significant possible alternatives to future city transportation. Instead of fighting over reducing carbon emissions, the world must focus on developing infrastructure and products supporting clean and sustainable development.


Read More: Clean Cooking: Momentous leap Towards Green Future

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *