Is Mumbai ready for cycle tracks? Bandra tells a different story
Last year, sitting corporator Asif Zakaria of Bandra’s H-West ward had sent a proposal to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) chief Ajoy Mehta about having a cycle track in his constituency.Updated: Feb 01, 2017 09:58 IST
Last year, sitting corporator Asif Zakaria of Bandra’s H-West ward had sent a proposal to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) chief Ajoy Mehta about having a cycle track in his constituency.
The proposal finally went through this month and what we got were two cycling tracks – one at Bandra’s Carter Road and the other near Bandra Amphitheatre – both used as a parking space.
The BMC had recently put up signboards along the Bandra promenade clearly declaring a lane as a dedicated cycle track. The signboard states that the track cannot be used a parking space, with logos of the BMC and the Mumbai traffic police.
But exactly next to the signboards are cars and bikes parked parallel to each other.
Zakaria said, “We started it on a trial basis for a month and we had put up temporary bollards. Now, quite a few of them have been broken. The purpose of the bollards was to prevent people from parking. But they have been vandalised.”
Authorities deem it impractical to post police personnel along the 1.2-kilometre stretch only to keep the motorists from parking on the track.
While there is a local police beat chowky on the promenade, beat chowky policemen only look after the security aspect.
Zakaria added, “Any proposal that we send should be self-sustaining. The BMC plans to put concrete dividers to prevent cars and bikes from parking, which will happen after the civic elections as the code of conduct is in place now.”
Cyclists are unhappy. Amit Badoriya, who runs a company that organise midnight bicycle rides in the city, said, “I could not find space to ride on the cycle track for even half a kilometre. The authorities can put up ropes to prevent vehicles from parking in that lane, to create awareness. Once it is known that they are not supposed to park, motorists might learn to accept it.”
The concerns of cyclists are legitimate. With such a huge influx of cars constantly on the roads, there is little space for the citizens to pedal safely. Many cyclists ride in the morning hours, between 4 am and 7 am, as there are fewer cars then.
“The purpose of starting the track was to provide a cycle track for future generations. I have two daughters, but they cannot ride a bicycle. Their cycles are rusting away in the garage. We need to create facilities from the existing infrastructure and have a win-win situation. What better place to experiment than in Bandra? If it succeeds here, it could be replicated elsewhere,” said Zakaria.