Kolkata sees a rise in number of cyclists: For livelihood and not lifestyle, says study
Kolkata/IBNS: In keeping with the worldwide movement of cycling to work, SwitchON Foundation, a Kolkata-based environment conservation society, recently launched a sustainable programme in line with the initiative.
The programme was also part of their celebration of International Cycle to Work Day.
With support from Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority and Newtown Business Club under NKDA, SwitchOn is working with more than 50 organisations and corporate houses to boost the Cycle2Work campaign.
This initiative aims to encourage a significant shift from motorized commuting to cycling, a healthy, non-polluting and space efficient mode of transport,
According to the organisation, it aims to actively engage in providing a yearlong programme of technical assistance to companies and also the city authorities to make the city safe for cycling and to make companies equipped for encouraging cycling.
Companies can make their offices cycle friendly by setting up cycle racks, changing area, bathing area wherever possible, and initiate reward and incentives, etc., the organisation said.
SwitchON Foundation will bring in experts from Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) and link in government departments for the programme to be successful.
After the successful onboarding of companies, the next step will be to register for the national campaign Cycle2Work.
SwitchON Foundation supports the Smart Cities Mission under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA).
Vinay Jaju, MD SwitchON Foundation, said, “Cycle2Work is a simple yet effective way in which citizens can contribute to the planet, city's air quality, congestion while staying healthy.”
Santanu Patra, Superintending Engineer, KMDA said, "Embracing the Cycle to Work initiative promoted by SwitchOn Foundation not only reduces our carbon footprint but also fosters a culture of health, well-being, among our employees. Together, we pedal towards a better future."
A study was launched by SwitchON Foundation on ‘Livelihood Cyclists in Kolkata: Opportunities and Challenges’.
The survey was conducted among 233 cyclists, who were identified randomly from localities of central Kolkata and the New Town area.
The study revealed that Kolkata’s cycling community is using cycling for livelihood purposes.
Dr Aditi Kundu, Senior Research Manager and Lead from SwitchON Foundation said, “A cyclist on an average cycles for 3 to 5 km on a daily basis to fulfil their work related requirement in their locality.”
“Almost 98.25 per cent of the respondents said that cycling was economical,” Dr Kundu said.
The report revealed that nearly 45 per cent of the male cyclists and 34 percent of female cyclists feared cycling in Kolkata due to accidents resulting from the dominance of four-wheelers on roads.
Around 89 per cent of the female participants and 87 percent of male cyclists said that better road facilities, particularly separate cycling lanes, will be beneficial for a better cycling experience on the roads of Kolkata, the report said.
A release from the Foundation quoted the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) to say that in West Bengal 78.9 percent of households have bicycles, the highest in the country.
Aangi Shah, Senior Associate, from ITDP said, “Cycle2Work is a great initiative that encourages employees to use cycling as a mode of commute - to improve health and support the environment.”
Shah also said that many cities across the country have already rolled out the Cycle2Work Campaign - an initiative by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs - such as Silvassa, Rajkot, New Town Kolkata and Surat.