Saturday, August 13, 2005

Action plan for bicycle-friendly communities (India)

Chandigarh, July 25

The Municipal Corporation, today, initiated a significant step to make the city bicycle-friendly. Ms Anu Chatrath, Mayor, signed the Velo Mondial (London, Amsterdam) charter and action plan for bicycle-friendly communities, on behalf of the city today. Mr Christopher Huggins countersigned the charter on behalf of Velo Mondial. Describing the charter, the Mayor said it provides a blueprint and a set of directives for promoting the bicycle as an efficient, environmentally friendly alternative to motorised transport. Ms Chatrath said the city; with a population exceeding one million had, as in big cities everywhere, environmental challenges and transport problems. “A large number of city residents own bicycles and continue to use this highly economical mode of transport. However, existing facilities for bicycle riders in the city are not sufficient.

An increasing number of cities worldwide now look upon the bicycle as a solution to improving the environment, reducing congestion, enhancing public health and more,” she maintained. The Mayor said with the signing of this charter, the corporation had made public its will to bring respect and dignity back to the cyclist. The bicycle as the poor man’s transport was in fact the healthiest mode of transport. Its usage had reduced in recent years, in many cases because of the safety issues and the rise of air pollution, both caused by motorised vehicles. Through starting a dialogue with Velo Mondial, the city has taken a step further towards promoting the bicycle as an effective mode of transport for its citizens. In the following weeks, an analysis will be made on the current state of bicycle friendliness in the city. Factors such as bicycle safety, cycle paths, funding and partnerships will be explored. Representatives of the city will be invited to the next Velo Mondial conference in Cape Town, South Africa, (March 5 to 10, 2006) in order to represent the city and voice their views, the Mayor added.

The signing represents one more major achievement in the “360 ways venture” which began in Paris in June 2004. Having crossed seven European countries, Christopher Huggins and Peter Kennedy reached India on June 2 and Christopher reached the city on July 9. The “360 ways venture” aims at promoting the bicycle a mode for urban transport and solution for sustainable urbanisation. The project was chalked out by Christopher Huggins and Peter Kennedy, with the support from the sponsors, to give a new life to the bicycle globally. “This is a starting point for cities that realise the benefits of the bicycle for all. Among these benefits are reduced air pollution and noise pollution, less accidents and less traffic congestion. The health and well being of citizens of bicycle-friendly cities gets improved not only by the route physical activity itself, but also through lower air pollution and less road accidents”, Huggins maintains.

Nepalese city to sign the Velo Mondial Charter for bicycle friendly communities

"Pokhara is the second largest city in Nepal, after Kathmandu. As for Kathmandu, Pokhara’s resources lie largely in the development of the tourist sector. Over the years the city’s infrastructure has been developed to suit this objective. This is especially the case along the lakeside where tourists are to be welcomed to Pokhara, the city of peace, environment friendliness and leisure.

The environment is the main reason why, on the 2nd August, the honorable Dikawar Bastola, Mayor of Pokhara, officially signed the Velo Mondial Charter for bicycle friendly communities.
The second reason for Pokhara’s decision is to reconcile the rich-poor gap which is very much apparent in the city, as in the rest of the country. The bicycle will preserve the environment, displaying idealic scenery for tourists and locals alike. Furthermore, the bicycle will enhance equal opportunities to the rich as to the poor when it comes to transport throughout the city: notably for home to work displacements.

Pokhara’s declaration marks the city’s will to commit itself to the development of the city whilst respecting the people’s rights to equal opportunities and to their inherited environment. Pokhara’s commitment is one the city would like to share today with the other bicycle friendly communities of the world, to form a basis for future transport policy making."

Bicycle friend Singaopre to attract more tourist? may be something for STB to ponder upon :-)

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Six policies to promote cycling

Six policies appear to have worked to promote cycling in Germany and the Netherlands:
  • improved cycling infrastructure
  • "traffic calming" in residential neighborhoods
  • urban design that is people- rather than car-oriented
  • restrictions on motor vehicle use
  • traffic education
  • traffic regulations and enforcement that are pro-pedestrian and pro-cycling