Guwahati: Along with the rest of the world, Guwahati city too has seen a huge growth in the number of cycling enthusiasts in the last few months during the COVID-19 pandemic. Bicycle shops across the city as well as the state have reported a rapid increase in sales. People have resorted to cycling as a way to keep fit or to explore the nearby areas. Small cycling groups can be seen plying all over the city. It is believed that most of the people will carry on with their cycling activities even after the end of the pandemic.
One positive from the disastrous COVID-19 pandemic is the revival of nature to some extent. And this presents a perfect opportunity to promote cycling as a primary means of transport. Cycling gives people an equitable, clean, and inexpensive option to travel for their work by maintaining social distance and develop their immunity. While at the same time they do not contribute to pollution and congestion in the city streets. The city also becomes safer as lesser accidents take place.
Keeping this in view an online petition has started to gain support and signature of people from all over Guwahati. The petitioners addressed the petition to the honourable Guwahati Development Department Minister Sri. Siddhartha Bhattacharya seeking some short term steps and prepare for a long term vision to make Guwahati cycling friendly.
Similar petitions have also started in about 10 cities across India. The petition seeks the need for the cities to promote sustainable and active modes of transport like cycling and walking.
The petition not only seeks cycling lanes in some parts of the city but also to prepare a long term comprehensive plan that encompasses governance and policy measures, planning, design and implementation measures, and also the allocation of finances for such facilities. These measures when implemented will go a long way in making Guwahati the most cycling-friendly city in India.
The Bicycle Mayor of Guwahati, Mr. Arshel Akhter, with the support of ‘Pedal for a Change and The Green lane Foundation’ has started the online petition.