Cycling is a clean and inexpensive option to travel to work and also helps maintaining social distance Credit: Representational Image

Guwahati: Attempting to make cycling a way of lifestyle, Arshel Akhter, an avid cyclist based in the city, has started an online petition addressed to Guwahati Development Department (GDD) minister Siddhartha Bhattacharya seeking actions to make Guwahati a cycling-friendly city.

Akhter, with the support of Pedal for a Change and The Green lane Foundation started the petition in the midst of the pandemic, where cycling serves more than one purpose.

It gives people an equitable, clean and inexpensive option to travel to work by maintaining social distance and develop immunity, while at the same time, it does not contribute to pollution and congestion of city streets. Opting for cycling as a way of life also gives us the much needed quota of exercise, and helps one in staying fit, said Akhter, who was appointed as the ‘bicycle mayor’ of Guwahati by BYCS, an NGO based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, the cycling capital of the world.

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Through a release, Akhter highlighted the tremendous growth of cycling enthusiasts in Guwahati along with the rest pof the world in the last couple of months during the covid-19 pandemic. He said that bicycle shops around the state have reported huge increase in sales.

Also, many small cycling groups have sprung up all over the city. It is expected that many of these people will keep cycling even after the pandemic is over.

The bicycle mayor stated that similar petitions have been started in about 10 cities across India. The petition seeks that our cities need to promote sustainable and active modes of transport like cycling and walking (also called Non-Motorised Transport).

“The petition not just seeks cycling lanes in some parts of the city but to prepare a long term comprehensive plan that encompasses governance and policy measures, planning, design and implementation measures and also allocation of finances for such facilities. These measures when implemented will go a long way in making Guwahati the most cycling friendly city in India,” he added.

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