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#ResetwithCycling: Solutions to reduce air pollution

By: jhatkaadotorg

To acknowledge the International Day of Clean Air for blue skies and how important clean air is for health, productivity, the economy and the environment. World over, cities are promoting solutions that improve air quality — this explains the recent spike in cycling, even in India.

While cars are responsible for contributing to air pollution, cycles are truly the only non-emission form of mobility there is. 

A few weeks ago, we celebrated our 74th Independence day. On August 15, Jhatkaa.org was joined by people across the country in imagining  a different kind of freedom – Freedom from fuel – Do paiyyon wali Azadi. 

In collaboration with BYCS India (Bicycle Mayors of India), more than 25 cities joined the CycleNow.in movement to demand a cycling infrastructure.

These included big and small cities — from Trivandrum to Delhi, from Mumbai to Guwahati. Citizens and cycling enthusiasts hit the streets with their cycles, went for a spin and took to social media to share stories, posted images, videos, and more, to #Resetwithcycling. It’s been equal parts inspiring and heartening to witness.  

Across our 25 petitions, more than 20000+ people joined the movement. We got an overwhelming response on our two cycling related videos and created a nationwide buzz about cycling.

More than 6 lakh people saw the two videos created by Jhatkaa.org. Thousands came on the streets and used the #Resetwithcycling. The campaigns across the city not only highlighted the need for better cycling infrastructure but also demands of those who use cycle as only means of transportation. 

August 15th created a huge momentum for the campaign. This is a positive step towards not just for cycling enthusiasts but also for our environment. 

Here are the Key demands

  • Policy and Governance
  1. Adopt a comprehensive NMT/Cycling policy or strategy for the city
  2. Form an NMT cell to coordinate the planning, design, and implementation of NMT infrastructure in the city
  3. Launch campaigns to promote cycling in the city (Eg. Car-free Sundays, Cycle to work, Free cycle clinics etc)
  4. Create a statutory walking and cycling master-plan for the city
  • Planning, Design and Implementation
  1. Create good quality, safe cycling infrastructure as per the masterplan
  2. Implement projects to enable easy and affordable access to bicycles for citizens (Eg: Community-owned or cycle-sharing systems, cycle rental schemes, etc) between most frequented and connected destination points.
  3. Provide dedicated cycling paths and improve walkways along the entire network of roads within the city
  4. Provide incentives for citizens using cycling and public transportation for commute within the city. (Eg. Based on miles logged, pollution and co2 avoidance credits, etc.)
  5. Provide safe and free bicycle parking at transit stations and major public destinations to enable better last-mile connectivity.
  6. Create shaded pathways along the city roads for cyclists and pedestrians, which can also be employed to install linear solar photovoltaic power systems and help to meet city sustainability targets.
  7. Provide safe and secure bike carriers in all means of public transport like buses, metro, and suburban trains, so that people can easily use cycles for last-mile connectivity in long-distance commute and avoid private motorized vehicles as much as possible within the city.
  • Financial
  1. Invest at least 50% of the city’s transportation budget towards building high-quality walking and cycling infrastructure in the city

(The first-ever International Day for Clean Air and Blue Skies is on 7th September 2020. We’re collecting voices on issues such as air pollution, stubble burning, vehicular emissions, cycling from all parts of India. This is your chance to share your story with us!)

(The views expressed in the article are the author’s own. Let Me Breathe neither endorses nor is responsible for them.) 

    jhatkaadotorg

    We aim to create a progressive India - one that’s equitable, inclusive, and sustainable - built and maintained through the democratic power of an engaged citizenry.

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