The world’s second-largest economy, which has witnessed a steep rise in traffic, pollution and population, is investing heavily in its infrastructure, but what exactly is it doing?
We asked the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MHT) and the Department of Road Safety and High-Altitude Planning (DHHPL) about how they plan to respond to the growing number of accidents on India’s roads, and whether they are planning on a “bicycle pump”.
A few weeks back, the National Institute of Road Development and Reform (NIRR) conducted a study, asking road users across the country to share their experiences and concerns.
Its conclusion was that a “cycle pump” was not a priority.
But now that the study has concluded, MHT has announced plans to introduce a “cannibalisation” system, in which bicycles will be given the priority over the traffic.
The “cannabinoid system” has already been rolled out in Delhi, and MHT is currently finalising its plans for the state, and will be launching it later this month.
It has also announced a plan to set up a national network of bicycle pumps and hire them on a pilot basis in Bengaluru.
According to MHT, the Cannibalisation system will be piloted on two roads: the Sainik-Dantewada road (M6), in north Bengaluru, and the Bhiwani-Shakati road (K2) in north Chennai.
The first will be opened in November and will run for six months.
In addition, a “bike pump” will be set up in south Chennai, the state capital.
The Cannibalization system is part of the overall “cycle pumps” plan to tackle traffic congestion and pollution, as well as reduce air pollution.
MHT says that its goal is to “rebalance the infrastructure by ensuring that cyclists get priority and the traffic comes first”.
The government has also been working to improve cycling infrastructure, and has set up its first Bicycle Transport Centre (BTCC), which is tasked with designing cycle lanes for vehicles.
According a press release, the BTCC will provide “an environment of confidence” for cyclists and provide them with the “stability and safety” they want.
The BTCC is to be operational in three phases: a pilot programme to test bike lanes, a pilot phase to develop the infrastructure, a full-scale phase and an ongoing phase.
MHRP, the government agency that manages the BT, says the first phase will start in March 2019.
The new “bicycles-first” plan, it says, will enable the government to “demonstrate the benefits of bicycle infrastructure to our country and help ensure that it will continue to attract investment”.
In fact, the Indian government has already made a commitment to invest in bicycle infrastructure, with a memorandum of understanding signed in September 2017 between the Department for Road Transport, High-Density Development and Recreation and the Indian National Highway Corporation (INHRC).
MHRP is also hoping that the “bikes-first strategy” will inspire the government and private sector to invest more in the infrastructure.
“We have identified a number of projects that we will work on in the next few months,” said Amit Bhattacharya, a senior MHRPP official.
“These will be projects that will enhance safety and the safety of the cyclists.
We will work with the private sector and our local partners on these projects.
We are also in discussions with various ministries, including the Ministry for Road and High Infrastructure to create a new cycling infrastructure infrastructure fund for these projects.”
Amit said MHR PP plans to work with private firms to help design bike lanes for cars, but has not yet come up with any specific funding to help the private firms design the bike lanes.
However, Bhattachu said the government’s commitment to bike lanes was already a strong one.
“We have seen a shift in attitudes in the country towards bikes, and our strategy will also help in this,” he said.
“The government’s policy is to give priority to cars over bikes.
We also have a very strong infrastructure strategy that we are implementing with the aim of ensuring that the cycle pump will be a part of this strategy.
We have already seen the benefits and the benefits are very clear.
The government has been encouraging the private companies to implement the bike pumps.
The infrastructure in our country is very good, and there is no need to build cycle pumps in cities.
We want to encourage the private sectors to work on cycle pumps.
We hope that this will help in bringing bike pumps to cities.”