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Safety in slow lane for Pune cyclists

The increasing number of accidents are causing cyclists to rethink using this eco-friendly mode of transport.

pune Updated: May 18, 2018 14:40 IST
Prachi Bari and Parth Welankar
Prachi Bari and Parth Welankar
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune cyclists,safety
The cyclists are vulnerable and so making roads safer for them is a must. (Ravindra Joshi/HT )

“I stopped using bicycle frequently because there is no safety on the roads. A year back, when I was riding the bicycle on the Mumbai-Bengaluru highway near Baner road, I was luckily saved from an impending accident. It is sad that there is no road in the city where bicyclists can ride safely,” said Mukund Pate, an IT engineer working with IBM in Hinjewadi.

The bicyclists use all the safety measures like front and back lamps and helmets but safety on the road is still a far cry.

Virag Rokade, a cycling enthusiast who broke his arm after falling from the bicycle, feels that road plans should made keeping the cyclists too in mind.

“ I was cycling my way back home when I met with an accident. My office is in Hinjewadi phase 3. I had just crossed the office campus of Tata Consulting Services when a pack of dogs began chasing me. I applied the brakes, as a precaution but there was a speed breaker ahead, which caused me to skid and fall. I broke my arm,” said Rokade, a resident of Sus Pashan road.

Speed breakers are designed for two-wheelers but ill-designed ones can cause accidents for the cyclists.

“We do not have a dedicated lane for cyclists in Hinjewadi or Pashan. The poorly lit roads adds to the trouble. Our signals do not have a provision for pedestrians or cyclists,” added Rokade.

Pankaj Gupta feels that it is an amazing experience to cycle your way to office. “ My office has provided shower rooms and separate parking space for cycles. Moreover, it is a non-polluting mode of transportation and it helps me stay fit but the road conditions are bad. Riding a cycle in the night is very difficult due to rash driving and poor lighting conditions. The high power light beaming from the vehicles coming from the other side can prove to be fatal,”said Pankaj Gupta, a residnet of Hadapsar, who works in Cybage in Kalyani nagar.

Ranjit Gadgil, an environmentalist, shares his insights about making roads safe for cyclists. “Firstly, all major roads need segregated cycle tracks that are usable and continuous. Measures must be taken to slow down vehicles. We need to rethink on the road infrastructure. The cyclists are vulnerable and so making roads safer for them is a must.”

While Ashok Morale, deputy commissioner of Pune, accepted that heterogeneous nature of traffic moves on the city roads, he appealed to the people to follow traffic rules to avoid mishaps. “There is a need for providing a secure lane for the cyclists and we are working closely with the bicycle planning department closely,” he said.

Keeping pedallers on bikes is top priority, assures civic body

Narendra Salunkhe, superintendent engineer and project officer of the bicycle plan said that existing traffic rules will be strictly enforced along with creating the required infrastructure for the cyclists.

“Increasing number of accidents involving cycles, is a cause of serious concern for us. We have prepared a bicycle plan for three years and the required infrastructure will be developed in a phased manner,” said Salunkhe.

He added that the bicycle plan includes creation of proper bicycle track along with dedicated signal timings for the cyclists. “ Markings will be done on the city roads for directing the cyclists towards their destinations,” he added.

PMC has joined hands with Prasanna Desai Architects, a consortium of ITrans - a Delhi-based transportation planning firm, and centre for environment education(CEE), both from Pune, to prepare a comprehensive bicycle master plan. PMC has proposed a cycle network of approximately 470-km of cycle tracks. The estimated cost of the project is ₹300 crore.

“Smart roads like JM road or the roads in Aundh, is the solution for the problem of rising number of accidents involving cyclists. The corporation is working on creating such infrastructure on a fast-track basis,” said Salunkhe.

“While PMC will leave no stone unturned in developing the facilities for the safety of cyclists, residents should also drive responsibly. People should play a proactive role in ensuring safety”, he added.

He insisted that residents should maintain discipline and follow rules while driving.

First Published: May 18, 2018 14:35 IST