The Greater Chennai Traffic police has tested a temporary pop-up cycle lane on the arterial Kamarajar Salai on Wednesday morning. Cyclists have welcomed the move, but point out that they need similar measures for cyclists In other areas too.
The Hindu had published an article - Lockdown brings spotlight back on bicyles - on Wednesday that highlighted the need for more infrastructure for cyclists in the city. N. Kannan, Additional Commissioner of police, traffic, had assured that they would set up a temporary pop-up lane for cyclists on Kamarajar Salai. "We tried it out from 6 am to 8 a.m on Wednesday. I also inspected the same. Cyclists were happy to use the lane," he said.
Siddharth Dhawan, a cyclist, commented that it was a pleasant experience. "For the first time there was space for cyclists. But a few motorcycles kept coming into the lane," he said. However, many cyclists failed to notice it.
Divagaran T., founding member, ‘We are Chennai Cycling Group’ (WCCG), said that it was a welcome move. "But we would need similar steps for those who do the daily commute too, especially on arterial roads," he said.
Urban design specialists said that the Chandigarh police through social media has been informing motor vehicles not to encroach the dedicated cycle lanes. "Signages should be used to inform the riders that the lane is for cyclists. A similar measure can be implemented in Chennai. Fining those who park in these lanes and effective parking management will also help," said A.V. Venugopal, senior research associate, Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP)
Ashwathy Dilip, senior programme manager, ITDP, said - "A cycle may be the only vehicle they own due to their financial condition and they would be cycling long distance for work. There should be sufficient infrastructure through the entire city as a network to help them ride safely too. The pilot is a great step in this direction but it should soon expand into a city-wide network."