Bengaluru

Lack of dedicated lane puts brakes on cycling

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Experts say that the main reason is that most of our roads are narrow

Dedicated cycle lanes — an unfulfilled dream for the city — have reappeared in the residential locality of HSR Layout. But will it be functionally successful? It is a question that evokes only cynical answers from citizens.

An earlier project of a 40-km-long cycle lane in Jayanagar in 2012 was a dismal failure. Today, the cycle lanes are nowhere to be seen.

Cycle lanes are 1.5 metres wide and are demarcated on the left of the carriageway. Painting the asphalt to demarcate a lane has never worked in the city, due to the lack of lane discipline among motorists. These lanes were turned into parking bays and were soon taken over by motorists during peak hours.

The Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT) doesn’t seem to have learnt its lessons. In HSR Layout, the agency is painting the entire lane green, yes. But there is no physical barrier preventing other vehicles from encroaching.

Traffic experts and traffic cops are against erecting a physical barrier. “Most of Bengaluru's roads are narrow when compared to the high volume of traffic that they carry. Dedicated lanes are a luxury we cannot afford. It has been successful in some cities, like New York, due to their wide roads and the lane discipline among motorists,” said Prof. M.N. Srihari, a traffic expert.

It’s not just cycle lanes. Separate autorickshaw lanes in the Central Business District, that police experimented with in 2015, has also been a failure.

The rationale of a dedicated lane is two-fold. One – separate slow moving (autos) and vulnerable traffic (cycles); and two – give priority to public transport (bus).

There is also a proposal for a bus priority lane from M.G. Road to Hope Farm. Experts feel that this is also destined to fail as it is proposed in a high-traffic corridor.

Traffic cops are excited about exclusive bus lanes and Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS), but caution that they cannot be implemented across the board. They recommend an on-ground survey to identify potential corridors. For instance, on Sheshadri Road and in and around Majestic area, a study has revealed that a bus plies on the road every three seconds, and hence is a region suited for exclusive bus lanes, experts argue.

The split flyovers on Outer Ring Road (ORR) were built to accommodate a BRTS between the two flyovers, which should be implemented soon, say representatives of ORR Companies Association. However, the proposal is stuck in a turf war between BMTC and Namma Metro.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 3:13:07 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/lack-of-dedicated-lane-puts-brakes-on-cycling/article8184892.ece

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