Road Cycling

Cycle ban back after pandemic break, 71 Kolkata roads on cop list – Times of India

Thousands of people travelled on cycles when the ban was lifted

KOLKATA: With traffic volume swelling, Kolkata Police has reintroduced its pre-Covid bicycle ban on several city roads. A recent notification by Kolkata Police commissioner Soumen Mitra orders full or partial banning of cycling on 71 thoroughfares and bridges in the city.
Major thoroughfares, including EM Bypass and Alipore Road, have seen a complete ban on cycling except for cross movement. Among the roads that are included in the 24-hour ban are AJC Bose flyover, BBD Bag, Camac Street, Casuarina Avenue, EM Bypass, Gariahat flyover, Lord Sinha Road and Maa flyover, among others.
A few roads will see cycle restriction for the better part of the day, effectively lifting the ban only late in the night. For example, there will be a ban on cycling on Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Road and Prince Anwar Shah connector from 7am to 11pm. Diamond Harbour Road will see a restriction on cyclists between 9am and 1pm and again from 5pm to 9pm. On other roads like MG Road, specific stretches have been kept open for cycle vans while it is banned on other stretches. For cyclists though, it is an effective ban given no cycles can ply here between 7am and 11pm.
“This is an official notification. The concessions that were provided during lockdown last year have long been withdrawn but cyclists seemed not to have any clue about it. However, we are still allowing certain concessions based on local requirements and availability of public transport at certain times of the day,” said a senior police officer.
DC (Traffic) Arijit Sinha said a detailed list of roads where cycling is banned has been sent to individual guards. “Restrictions will continue on the main arterial roads, flyovers and any other area as notified from time to time. The bicyclists should obey one-way restrictions and other traffic rules and regulations,” the order stated.
Police said that no concessions will be provided to those cyclists breaking traffic rules blatantly. A number of cycle accidents this year has led to the decision, claimed an officer. Even breathalyzer tests on cyclists were started after about two dozen cycle accidents got reported this year. Across 25 guards, around 50 bicyclists were made to take the breathalyzer test in the past one week.
“There are certain corridors used by cyclists, especially those cycling out of central Kolkata late in the night. We have identified those and similar checks will continue,” said an officer.
Bicyclists, however, opposed the move. Satanjib Gupta, a bicycle enthusiast and the bicycle mayor of Kolkata, termed the move “anti-people”. “A lot of people depend on bicycles to travel short distances to sustain their livelihood. The restriction will inconvenience them. Moreover, bicycles are being promoted worldwide as the cleanest mode of transport. Bicycles are the most climate resilient mode of transport. I think there is a vast knowledge gap that is leading to such a decision,” he said.
Vijay Jaju, a bicycle enthusiast and founder of SwicthON Foundation, stated that the move will defeat the enthusiasm noticed for cycling in the past few months. “The reimposition of the bicycle ban on so many city roads will deeply affect the livelihood of many people,” he added.