On the occasion of International World Bicycle Day, SwitchON Foundation in association with the New Town Kolkata Development Authority launched a special Road Safety and Ride to work Campaign from the Newtown Clock Tower to support awareness on using bicycles among the cyclists and others in Newtown Kolkata. The Campaigns primarily will look into further developing the culture of cycling in Newtown.
Volunteers from various prominent cycle groups and citizens took the initiative with great enthusiasm and were spotted creating awareness among people attending the event at the various stalls along the Clock Tower of the Newtown Area.
The event was joined by some of the top Corporates and Residents Welfare Associations of Newtown, showcasing their commitment to promote cycling amongst their employees and service people at the event, also pledging to use cycling infrastructure developed across Newtown.
Speaking during the launch senior officials from NKDA said, “It is a simple, affordable, reliable, clean and environmentally fit sustainable means of transportation, fostering environmental stewardship and health and NKDA has been at the forefront promoting its usage within Newtown area. We are really proud of the necessary initiative being organized by the organizer along with NKDA.”
The delegates including Shri Firhad Hakim, Mayor – Kolkata and MiC Transport and Shri Debashis Sen, Chairman NKDA present at the event were facilitated by the organizer by giving a pattachitra as an awareness campaign.
A report was also released by SwitchON Foundation on a cycling perception study that was undertaken by visitors of Kolkata Book Fair 2022.
World Bicycle Day is celebrated annually on June 3 to promote the use of bicycles for transportation, recreation and environmental conservation. The World Health Organization has stated earlier that providing bicycles to the world’s poorest individuals and communities can prevent 1.5 million premature deaths and 5 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions each year.
Speaking on the occasion, Vinay Jaju MD SwitchON Foundation said, “Our survey at the Kolkata book fair shows there is an overwhelming support for cycling across Kolkata. On World Cycle Day, we celebrate bicycles that improve our lives, provide an affordable, healthy mode of transport, to helping us conserve resources and protect our environment. So let’s keep riding into the future!”
In view of the efforts done towards clean air, SwitchOn Foundation recently conducted a perception study with the visitors who had been a part of Kolkata Book Fair 2022. The study was carried out through a survey of 1546 visitors some interesting findings emerged were-
Cycling as the prominent choice:
1. 76% of the visitors ride cycle at least 3-4 days in a week which suggests that cycle is a preferred choice of transportation among Kolkatans.
2. Economical & Health Reasons emerged as the most prominent reasons for choosing cycle among the cyclists in Kolkata.
3. Across various age groups and gender groups, economical &health reasons remain as most prominent ones for choosing the cycle.
Assessment of air quality:
1. 68% of the visitors in Kolkata perceive the air quality to be poor or very poor.
2. 32% of those who cycle everyday assessing the air quality to be “very poor”.
3. The perception on air quality among visitors in various age groups was assessed and it was found out that 88% children & 80% senior citizens complained about air quality being poor or very poor. Interestingly, the proportion of senior citizens assessing it to be very poor is more.
Major Challenges faced by Cyclists:
1. Pollution and Rash Driving coupled with Excess Motor Vehicles were some of the major challenges faced by cyclists.
2. 42% of the cyclists unanimously mentioned vehicles (using fossil fuels) as the largest contributor to air pollution, followed by Industry as the next highest contributor. Those who already perceive pollution as the biggest challenge in cycling, tend to put more emphasis on vehicles as the major source of pollution.
Some of the recommendations by SwitchON for policy makers cyclists are:
● Building more cycle parking infrastructure and improving utilizing cycle lanes and bylanes by including various stakeholders.
● Sensitizing road users on road safety and positive attitude towards cyclists.
● Management of road signals to ensure better road safety.