Kerala

Safe cycle tracks need of the hour

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Creating infra for promoting pedalling is a challenge

With the green mode of transportation gathering momentum, urban planners and mobility experts are looking towards dedicated cycle tracks that offer higher degree of safety along busy roads.

Cycle traffic has dwindled from around 50% in the 1960’s to a meagre 1% due to over-dependence on motorised traffic.

Ushering in a behavioural and cultural change among citizens to a sustainable and carbon-free mode of transportation and creating requisite infrastructure for promoting pedalling are the challenges before planners and the government.

Taking cue from the National Urban Transport Policy to promote public transport and encourage walking and cycling for short-distance travel, a small beginning has been kicked off in the State.

Proposed tracks

Cycle tracks along the proposed 657-km coastal highway, on the 11 major roads in Kochi, and on the 1.8-km C.V. Raman Pillai Road from Manaveeyam Veedhi to Thycaud in the State capital is on the anvil under the Smart City projects in Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi.

“There is no pollution and emission from bicycles and they help improve the physical health of citizens and is ideal for last-mile connectivity from transit stations to homes and work centres. The time has come for providing dedicated space for cycling and walking in the State and investing heavily on cycle infrastructure,” says Executive Director, Road Safety, Kerala Road Safety Authority (KRSA), T. Elangovan.

Cycle tracks offer a high degree of safety as they physically separate the cyclist from the motorised traffic.

Experts differ on cycle tracks as the safest solution and on the claim that more cycle tracks automatically increase overall road safety. On a route with many side roads and intersections, a cycle track at a distance from the road may be less safe than a cycle lane. At an intersection, it has been pointed out, they suddenly need to mix, pay attention to each other and negotiate potential conflict situations. In such busy intersections, Mr. Elangovan, who was on the technical committee for Smart City in the two cities, says grade-separator is the solution.

On urban roads, a 2.5-m-wide two-way cycle track and 1.5-m-wide single track for small roads is ideal in Kerala where space is a constraint. Cycle track with 3-m-wide pedestrian walkway in two levels can be thought of in roads where there is space constraint, says Mr. Elangovan, who is also on the citizen advisory committee for Smart City Thiruvananthapuram.

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Printable version | Dec 12, 2019 9:54:57 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/safe-cycle-tracks-need-of-the-hour/article30063855.ece

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