On first UN World Bicycle Day, Indians Demand Their Right to Safe Cycling at Hero Cycles
Over 1000 regular cycle users and cycling enthusiasts joined the public bicycle rally “Cyclothon” organized by Hero Cycles for celebrating the first ever World Bicycle Day.
The one of a kind event brought concerns relatedto safe cycling to forefront as hundreds of cyclists pedaled in the rallybehind Ambience Mall in Vasant Kunj.
· Reports indicate that over 2,585bicyclists died due to traffic accidents in 2016; the loss of lives beingequivalent to eight Boeing 747 jumbo jets crashing in a single year.
New Delhi 3rd June 2018: Highlightingthe need to spread awareness about the social, economic and environmentalbenefits of cycling on the occasion of the first United Nations (UN) mandatedWorld Bicycle Day, Hero Cycles launched ‘Cyclothon’, a public bicycle rally, onJune 3, 2018, behind Ambience Mall in Vasant Kunj.
The event was flagged off by Hero CyclesOfficial. The spokesperson, Hero Cycles highlightedthe benefits of cycling as a low cost and practical means of mobility andcommute over short distances. More than 1000 cycle users and cyclingenthusiasts including women and children were present at the event. HeroCycles’ online petition, ‘Ring a Bell’, seeking people’s views on the benefitsof cycling while educating them at the same time has garnered a huge number ofhits, and thereby making it a people’s movement.
“Bicycles have been with us for the last 200years. Modern materials have made them uniquely long lived and versatile. Theyare the simplest, most affordable, reliable, clean and environmentally suitablemeans of transport available to any community. For many of the absolute poor,they are often the best possible means to access jobs, education, markets andcommunity activities in both rural and urban settings. Cycles are known toempower women by enabling them to make life related choices such as attendingschools in rural areas. Through this ‘Cyclothon’, we wish to bring attention tocycling as not just an individual choice but one that knits togethercommunities. One kilometer of cycling saves your carbon footprint by 250 gramsof carbon dioxide, which is released in the air while travelling the samedistance by a car. Yet authorities are still to deliver safe road conditionsfor cycling”, opinesMr. Pankaj M Munjal, Chairman, Hero Motors Company.
In consonance with its CSR partner, ‘Volunteer 4India’, the Chairman, HMC was on hand to distribute 150 durable bicycles to theunderprivileged children, making schools and places of community interest moreaccessible to them.
It has been a continuous endeavor of Hero Cycles todraw the attention of people, society, policy makers, and influencers towardsthe persistent policy neglect that cycling has been suffering from, despitebeing the most affordable means of mobility for the masses.
Despite the worrying lack of safe cyclinginfrastructure on Indian roads, the humble bicycle remains one of the mostinexpensive, sustainable, and green modes of commutation. Focused attentiontowards making cycling an active part of rural and urban life can elevate it tobecome a tool for development, providing an alternative solution to a number ofmodern day challenges. It is disheartening to note that India lost the lives of2,585 bicyclists due to road accident in 2016. The loss of lives is equivalentto the passenger deaths of eight Boeing – 747 jumbo jets crashing in a singleyear.
Through the movement, people are demanding essentialcycling infrastructure with dedicated cycling lanes, street lights, separatetraffic signals, signs and lights to separate vulnerable bicycle users from thechaos of general motor vehicle traffic.
Cycling has the potential to help countries meetseveral of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Despite its manybenefits and utilities to the ordinary user, bicycle ownership and its use fordaily commute has not been given adequate promotion by the authorities in termsof finance or technological up-gradation capital for many small bicycle andparts manufacturing units.
Based on a combination of reports on road accidents inIndia, it can be concluded that cyclists account for nearly 10% of all deathsand injuries caused during road accidents. The World Health Organizationsimilarly estimates that pedestrian and bicycle users account for 12-13% offatalities suffered in all road traffic incidents in the country.