City on green path, to get junior bicycle mayors aged 9 to 16 for its 24 wards
With an aim to make the city bicycle-friendly, Mumbai is set to get a bicycle mayor for each of the 24 wards who will be assisted by two junior bicycle mayors between the ages of nine and 16 years.
The Smart Commute Foundation (SCF), which is spearheading Vision 2030, to make Mumbai the bicycle capital of India, will select the deputy and junior mayors along with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and political leaders from March.
Firoza Suresh, founder of SCF and Mumbai’s first bicycle mayor, said, “Every ward in Mumbai is like a city in itself. We need more cyclists to come forward to further our vision. With 24 deputy mayors and two junior bicycle mayors in every ward, we will be a strong team of 73 people.”
SCF is looking at promoting cycling as a sustainable mode of transportation to beat congestion on Mumbai streets. “Even though India is the second-largest manufacturer of cycles in the world, Mumbai is ranked 97th when it comes to cycling,” Suresh said. The foundation is looking at achieving a cycle ridership of one lakh by 2023.
Amsterdam-based BYCS, a social enterprise campaigning to increase the use of cycles in cities, had introduced the concept of a bicycle mayor in cities around the world. In India, there are already 41 bicycle mayors who look at promoting the health and environmental benefits associated with cycling.
With 13 Metro corridors planned in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) is also looking at multi-modal integration at Metro stations by providing cycle bays and cycle paths. Recently, Mumbai Metro One Pvt Ltd, which runs the city’s Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar corridor, also launched a public bike-sharing facility from Jagruti Nagar Metro station.