Cyclists and citizens of Shimla had started an online petition which demanded declaring cycling as an essential sevice and an alternate mode of transport during the covid pandemic. The petition has received more than 1600 signatures from people of various walks of life including businessmen, Professionals, elected representatives, students and NGOs in less than 48 hours. People from most districts of Himachal Pradesh have signed the petition – Mandi , Shimla, Bilaspur , Hamirpur , Solan , Kullu, Spiti, Sirmaur , Kangra. The petiton has also been shared more than 500 times on social media
The team met with DC Shimla, Mayor Shimla, MC Commissioner Shimla who have promised that action will be taken and bicycle parking will be made at various locations in Shimla City. The selected team of cyclists and urban mobility experts will go for a site recce along with officials of MC Shimla in the coming days to identify and close sites.
“Across the world demand for cycles has gone up in the pandemic . More and more people are using cycles as a mode of commute. People are travelling to work on bicycles as it’s the safest mode of transport in the current situation. 90% of people travel less than 10km for work in India , this distance can easily be covered on a bicycle. Shimla should become a role model for other towns to follow as we already have 800-1000 active cyclists in and around Shimla. If given proper lanes and parking this number will go up.- Said Akshit Gaur a Pro Cyclist from Boileau Ganj.
“Dedicated Bicycle Lanes and Bicycle Parking are one of our core demands. This infrastructure is the basic requirement any cycling enthusiast in the city of Shimla. Once this is created we are sure than many more people will use bicycles as an alternate mode of transport. Especially as cities begin to unlock safe public transport that does not spread the virus is the need of the hour. Nothing like the humble bicycle to fullfill that need. The administration has promised us that they will look into creating this infrastructure and we are hopeful that we will see cycling lanes and parking in Shimla in the near future”- Said Ashish Sood – A cycling enthusiast and an urban mobility expert who met the administration.
The petition has a 6 point demand agenda along with a detailed proposal of what needs to be done and why. Reference from what has been happening around the world have also been included. The petitioners have also promised to help the administration on voluntary basis to help execute this project.
“WHO Has already issued an advisory that cycling is one of the best ways to counter the covid-19 .spread. It helps build immunity and at the same time it a safe way to commute – We hope Shimla and then Himachal follow this model". Said Gaurav Negi – A citizen of Himachal Pradesh who actively commutes on a bicycle .