Pedal pushers - Bicycle bells to ring in the Bangalore University campus through a public bicycle sharing system
- Pedal pushers....Praveen Bose
Bicycle bells to ring in the Bangalore University campus through a public bicycle sharing system.Last year, on June 5, which is also celebrated as World Environment Day, Bangalore University (BU) woke up to the ringing of bicycle bells as it became the first varsity in the country to turn bicycle-friendly under Namma Cycle, a bicycle-sharing project. The idea was to have a public bicycle- sharing system where bicycles are made available on a large scale in a city allowing people to have ready access to them.The project envisages setting up cycle rental stations where the students will pick up and drop a cycle.There will be stock stations where around 200 cycles will be kept for shipping to various rental stationsThe project emerged from a desire to ease traffic congestion within the BU campus. Over the years motorised traffic has been growing rapidly in the campus. BU and the projects promoters Ride A Cycle Foundation (RACF), who promote bicycles as a mode of transport in Bangalore, have been trying to promote cycling among the citys denizens. The idea is to promote bicycle usage and hence reduce traffic congestion and pollution in the city, says Murali H R, founder of (RACF) .Cycling in the BU campus is the most practical mode of transport to move about, as it is fast, cheap and most reliable. The plan is to rent out cycles for as little as Rs 5 per hour.Bang ID, a design firm, is designing the rental stations and stock stations for Namma Cycle. These should be ready in another fortnight. Once theyre ready, Namma Cycle will start assembling the pieces of the bicycle stations and getting the final permission for installing them. Installing the 10 or so cycle stations in the city and in the university campus would cost about Rs 40 lakh.Bharathi Cement, which is sponsoring the bicycle stations, wanted RACF to install Bicycle Rack at the Lalbagh station and then take up the project which was inaugurated earlier this month.The Central government, meanwhile, seems to be keen on implementing such projects to make metros more bicycle-friendly. A policy framework is being put in place to implement such projects, according to Murali. The policy would also call on the Centre to pull up any state that refuses to implement the policy aimed at promoting cycling.In a couple of weeks the NGO will begin to issue radio tagged ID cards to those who wants to use the service by paying a fee periodically. The NGO is in talks with BSA to sponsor the bicyles. .Also getting involved is Dutch artist and engineer Ed van Hinte, brought in by the Srishti School of Design. Hinte has been brainstorming with cycling aficionados in the city on the extent to which cycling can be taken in city.RACF has been active in initiating projects in Bangalore including the Madiwala Cycle Track Project, the Jayanagar Bicycle Friendly Streets Project and Cycle Parking Stands at critical centres. It has been working with the government and local authorities to implement them.The number of people bicyclubg by choice is on the rise in Bangalore. There are associations promoting the bicycle. Their membership is rising by the day. More join the green brigade as days pass, courtesy organisations like RACF, Bangalore Bikers' Club (BBC), Go Green Go Cycling (GGGC) and Bums On The Saddle (BOTS).With the governments positive response to mark lanes around Madiwala Lake and certain other corridors, the RACF is working on setting up cycle parlours in Electronics City so that office-goers there can alight from buses and borrow cycles from parlours at strategic points to go to office and come back.Apart from this, RACFs doing another project the safe route-to-school which aims to encourage school children to hit the pedal, is at a nascent stage.The Bangalore University campus soon might be singing to the tune of Freddie Mercurys popular song. I want to ride my bicycle.