How cities are turning cycle-friendly?

The challenge was an attempt to nudge city administrations to work on three unique areas that would also promote cycling in the context of women’s mobility.

According to a report by Institute for Transportation and Development policy (ITDP), this can be achieved by “training programmes to empower more women to access and use cycles, pushing for infrastructural interventions to ensure road safety and personal security, and awareness campaigns to inspire more women to cycle.”

Fifty cities launched perception surveys to understand barriers to a culture of cycling.

Aswathy Dilip, senior programme manager, ITDP, says the survey findings underscored three points. One, how to make roads safe for people who can cycle. Two, how to increase confidence of women who can cycle but have not cycled on any arterial road and how to train those who cannot cycle. Three, what measures can be taken to ensure access to cycles through rental scheme.

The survey which drew around 50,000 respondents, found that the steepest barriers faced by men and women while cycling are speeding vehicles, traffic congestion, and poor road surface due to potholes. Issues such as lack of cycle parking, obstructions by parked vehicles, and poor street lighting also came into focus. According to the survey, 49% of the women find cycling unsafe on main roads, while 34% fear cycling at city junctions. One out of every five women said they feared eve-teasing while cycling on the streets.

Best practices

As part of the challenges, cities came up with various projects.

Vadodara appointed an ‘inclusivity manager’ and Karnataka conducted a round-table discussion to understand the challenges faced by women cyclists.

“Kakinada hosted women-only cycle rallies; Aurangabad and Bengaluru created what they called pop-up cycle lanes; Gurugram and Chandigarh created safe intersections and the latter also created cycle signals,” says Aswathy.

Some cities also worked on creating cycling-friendly neighbourhoods, where they created road signs, traffic calming measures to ensure a safe environment for people to cycle.

Aswathy adds: “The stage two of this initiative is coming up, so these cities are expected to work further on their plans.”

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