Kolkata: Cyclists from all fields of lives across Kolkata gathered for a peaceful meet at College Square to observe International Human Rights Day 2022 and drew attention to the archaic bicycle-ban on 70+ city streets, calling it a matter of human rights of green-commuters who directly contribute towards keeping the city’s air clean and climate change at bay, says a press release.
Also, for a city like Kolkata, where a huge chunk of the daily urban commuters rely on bicycles to reach their workplaces; many of whom are part of the gig economy, it is a matter of social justice too, is what the bicycling community strongly highlighted during this activity.
Citing all these reasons, the cyclists handed a letter to the Commissioner of Police urging him to take cognisance of the existing ban and how it is leading to harassment of cyclists on streets and urged him to take measures that promote bicycling in the city, rather than curbing it.
Vinay Jaju, MD, SwitchON Foundation said, “The only way Kolkata can avert a serious mobility and pollution crisis, is to prioritise cycling and walking space. The promotion of transport like cycling is a win-win approach; it not only solves the problem of traffic, rising pollution and the effect it has on our health, concerns of climate change and ensures income for a large number of people who depend on cycling for their daily needs.”
There is a growing cycling movement in Kolkata, and in many cities across the world citizens are taking steps towards a carbon-free future. Despite being climate-friendly, healthy, and an important mode of transport especially for the larger, low-income communities, cyclists continue to face numerous obstacles while operating on the streets.
These can include a culture of holding back cyclists off-the-road perpetuated by four-wheelers and other heavy-motorised vehicles, inadequate infrastructure, policy oversight, as well as bans placed on cyclists by city authorities.