- Over 1000 regular cycle users and cycling enthusiasts joined the public bicycle rally “Cyclothon” organized by Hero Cycles for celebrating the first ever World Bicycle Day.
- The one of a kind event brought concerns related to safe cycling to forefront as hundreds of cyclists pedaled in the rally behind Ambience Mall in Vasant Kunj.
- Reports indicate that over 2,585 bicyclists died due to traffic accidents in 2016; the loss of lives being equivalent to eight Boeing 747 jumbo jets crashing in a single year.
New Delhi 3rd June 2018: Highlighting the need to spread awareness about the social, economic and environmental benefits of cycling on the occasion of the first United Nations (UN) mandated World Bicycle Day, Hero Cycles launched ‘Cyclothon’, a public bicycle rally, on June 3, 2018, behind Ambience Mall in Vasant Kunj.
The event was flagged off by Hero Cycles Official. The spokesperson, Hero Cycleshighlighted the benefits of cycling as a low cost and practical means of mobility and commute over short distances. More than 1000 cycle users and cycling enthusiasts including women and children were present at the event. Hero Cycles’ online petition, ‘Ring a Bell’, seeking people’s views on the benefits of cycling while educating them at the same time has garnered a huge number of hits, and thereby making it a people’s movement.
“Bicycles have been with us for the last 200 years. Modern materials have made them uniquely long lived and versatile. They are the simplest, most affordable, reliable, clean and environmentally suitable means of transport available to any community. For many of the absolute poor, they are often the best possible means to access jobs, education, markets and community activities in both rural and urban settings. Cycles are known to empower women by enabling them to make life related choices such as attending schools in rural areas. Through this ‘Cyclothon’, we wish to bring attention to cycling as not just an individual choice but one that knits together communities. One kilometer of cycling saves your carbon footprint by 250 grams of carbon dioxide, which is released in the air while travelling the same distance by a car. Yet authorities are still to deliver safe road conditions for cycling”, opines Mr. Pankaj M Munjal, Chairman, Hero Motors Company.
In consonance with its CSR partner, ‘Volunteer 4 India’, the Chairman, HMC was on hand to distribute 150 durable bicycles to the underprivileged children, making schools and places of community interest more accessible to them.
It has been a continuous endeavor of Hero Cycles to draw the attention of people, society, policy makers, and influencers towards the persistent policy neglect that cycling has been suffering from, despite being the most affordable means of mobility for the masses.
Despite the worrying lack of safe cycling infrastructure on Indian roads, the humble bicycle remains one of the most inexpensive, sustainable, and green modes of commutation. Focused attention towards making cycling an active part of rural and urban life can elevate it to become a tool for development, providing an alternative solution to a number of modern day challenges. It is disheartening to note that India lost the lives of 2,585 bicyclists due to road accident in 2016. The loss of lives is equivalent to the passenger deaths of eight Boeing – 747 jumbo jets crashing in a single year.
Through the movement, people are demanding essential cycling infrastructure with dedicated cycling lanes, street lights, separate traffic signals, signs and lights to separate vulnerable bicycle users from the chaos of general motor vehicle traffic.
Cycling has the potential to help countries meet several of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Despite its many benefits and utilities to the ordinary user, bicycle ownership and its use for daily commute has not been given adequate promotion by the authorities in terms of finance or technological up-gradation capital for many small bicycle and parts manufacturing units.
Based on a combination of reports on road accidents in India, it can be concluded that cyclists account for nearly 10% of all deaths and injuries caused during road accidents. The World Health Organization similarly estimates that pedestrian and bicycle users account for 12-13% of fatalities suffered in all road traffic incidents in the country.