Cycling in Pune 1 min slower than car drive over same distance

Updated on Jun 03, 2022 10:38 PM IST
The NGOs planned simultaneous trips by cars and bicycles spanning around 100 km across the city during peak hours on three days to arrive at these results
A cycle rally from Aga Khan Palace to Deccan college organised by Nehru Yuva Kendra, on Friday. (HT PHOTO)
A cycle rally from Aga Khan Palace to Deccan college organised by Nehru Yuva Kendra, on Friday. (HT PHOTO)

“Cycling in Pune is just one minute slower than driving a car,” NGOs Save Pune Traffic Movement (SPTM) and Parisar have found after conducting an experiment to check how bicycles fare vis-à-vis cars as a mode of transport. The NGOs planned simultaneous trips by cars and bicycles spanning around 100 km across the city during peak hours on three days to arrive at these results.

The NGOs found that on an average, a bicycle needs just 45 seconds to one minute more than a car to travel a distance of 1 km. So if one’s commute is 6 km, a car doesn’t save the commuter more than five to six minutes as compared to a bicycle. The experiment proved that bicycles are only marginally slower than cars even as they benefit the city in other ways such as reducing air pollution and congestion. The experiment demonstrated that bicycles are faster than cars when congestion is higher, according to Parisar and SPTM.

Harshad Abhyankar of SPTM said, “Pune has earned the dubious distinction as the first city to have more vehicles as compared to people in 2018. The comprehensive mobility plan of Pune, which aimed at increasing the modal share of cycling from 9% to 25% has been sidelined while more and more motor vehicle-centric projects continue to fail in reducing congestion and pollution. This study was an attempt to put the focus back on the bicycle as a great mode of transport, especially for short distances, within 5 km. With better infrastructure for cyclists, more people can be encouraged to use bicycles for more trips, if not all.”

Shweta Vernekar of Parisar said, “While the study quantitatively documents the time taken by the two modes to travel the same distance, the idea is to emphasise that the bicycle may take only a few minutes more than a car but does not pollute the air and it takes much less of the already congested road space, while effectively moving people in the city.”

Meanwhile, those who participated in the experiment shared their experience of the commute. Ashwini Sovani, who often cycles to work in the city, said, “In a city like Pune, a bicycle is a very apt mode, especially for shorter trips, within 6 to 8 km. Cycling is good for the city as it reduces pollution but also good for the cyclist with its health benefits. “

Mihir Deo who participated as a car driver in the experiment, said, “Being a cyclist myself, driving a car often makes me impatient due to delays caused by traffic congestion. I have cycled in India and abroad and the main difference is that there is far more respect shown to cyclists and there is good infrastructure provided. Consequently, cycling is safer and more enjoyable there.”

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