The Sunday Story: Of the 565 road fatalities reported during the first nine months of this year, 267 were pedestrians and 16 were cyclists, making up almost half of the road deaths.

With the greater Bangalore population crossing the one-crore mark and the number of vehicles shooting past the 50-lakh mark, pavements have become narrower even as cycling has become a distant possibility for many in the city.

Of the 565 road fatalities reported during the first nine months of this year, 267 were pedestrians and 16 were cyclists, making up almost half of the road deaths.

M. Abdulla Saleem, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic), Bangalore, says the majority of pavements are not pedestrian-friendly. Encroachment, obstructions (by shops and utility services like electricity transformers), uneven surface and so on are affecting movement of walkers, he adds.

As far as encouraging cycling is concerned, Mr. Saleem said a beginning has been made at Madiwala and Jayanagar by the Directorate of Urban Land Transport in association with other stakeholders. This should pick up gradually in other parts of the city.

Interestingly, the number of households owning a bicycle in Bangalore has dropped from 29.8 per cent in 2001 to 22.9 per cent in 2011. On the other hand, the number of households owning four-wheelers has nearly doubled, from 9.2 per cent to 17.5 per cent and two-wheelers from 32.8 per cent to 44.5 per cent.