Online petition helps reverse proposal to ban cyclists from highways

Rahem Teekay with his son Hasib Teekay.

Rahem Teekay with his son Hasib Teekay.

An online petition started by a Mangalurean against the recommendations of a Parliamentary Standing Committee report on banning cyclists and pedestrians from highways has met with the desired results.

The move was termed ‘Anti-people, anti-poor and highly discriminatory’ by civil society.

Nitin Gadkari, Union Road Transport and Highways Minister, on Friday clarified that the government had no such intention. Rather, it wanted to promote non-motorised transport to curb pollution, he told reporters in Mumbai.

Responding to media reports and the online campaign against the proposal, Mr. Gadkari said that as the Transport Minister he wanted to promote cycling.

The online petition, “Reject Parliamentary Committee Report on Banning Cyclists from Main Roads and Highways” on was initiated by Mangaluru-based interior designer, poet, writer and cyclist Raheem Teekay in the first week of March. So far, 7,705 people have signed the petition.

Humiliating remark

What prompted Mr. Teekay was a humiliating remark made by a person driving a high-end car near Panambur where he was riding. “The driver stopped me and said the days are nearing when you cyclists will be thrown out of highways,” Mr. Teekay told The Hindu. At that time, the news of Parliamentary Committee recommendations was doing the rounds, he said. He said he was aghast over the behaviour of motorists against cyclists and pedestrians. Cycling has been the common man’s mode of commuting and has also become a way to stay fit.

On the same day, he initiated the petition saying the proposal was opposed by the Sustainable Urban Mobility Network, India, a national coalition of civil society organisations. He said the SUM Net India and others also said the proposals were contrary to principles of National Urban Transport Policy, 2006.

Mr. Teekay said it was the first petition started by him though he had signed several petitions of public importance. Many on Facebook did not know that they had to sign the petition by visiting the website and merely liked the post, he said.

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Printable version | May 19, 2022 3:56:35 am |