The Financial Express

Safe lanes for bicycles

| Updated: December 23, 2020 22:10:42

Evaly and Fianancial Express Evaly and Fianancial Express
Safe lanes for bicycles

The news of the continued progress in the construction of a 9.5 kilometre lane exclusively for bicyclists is heartening. The dedicated lanes being constructed on both sides of a wide road should make cyclists feel upbeat. One of these bicycle-routes is located in the Agargaon area. It goes across the northern fringe of the Islamic Foundation --- the LGED Road, and the University Grants Commission. The Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) is in charge of constructing the unique lane. This is a prerequisite for the traffic movement network in most of the big cities across the world. Upon taking Dhaka roads in view, the bicycle-lane may appear to be an absurd idea to many. This time, thanks to the firm resolve of the DNCC authorities, the outcome could be different. To speak in brief, the 9.5 km route is set to materialise soon. Already, a considerable segment of the lane has been completed. Meanwhile, as a showcase another bicycle lane of 1.0 km length, under the same project, has recently opened to cyclists.

Roadside lanes exclusive to movement of non-mechanised cycle-rickshaws and bicycles once distinguished Dhaka among the cities in the region. With a rapid increase in mechanised vehicles, some spilling over from the main roads into the special lanes, the latter eventually became choked with traffic. Bicycles and cycle-rickshaws were, thus, made to leave their lanes, as the special 'passageways' merged with the wide main roads. In order to face up to the deterioration in the city's traffic movement, the existing anarchic situation deserves to be in focus. Upon an in-depth appraisal, Dhaka's flawed traffic network emerges as being virtually hostile to bicycle riders. Due to motorised vehicles' increasing recklessness in the form of traffic rule violations, cycle-rickshaws may have deprived themselves of the facilities they deserve.

A rather irrational annoyance stems from the bicycles' slow speed and their less conspicuousness due to being stuck between large vehicles. These views are blatantly skewed against the bicycle-riding commuters. It's also true that in this age of speed, bicycles at times appear anachronistic. Yet millions across the world prefer this mode of transport to motorbikes or cars. Apart from saving themselves from pollution created by automobiles, they keep their surrounding environment free of noxious elements. A striking feature was noticed during the recent peak of the corona pandemic in Dhaka --- a sudden increase in the popularity of bicycles. Accordingly, the sales of the largely neglected two-wheeler kept rising. It's implied that the trend was prompted by the increasing awareness about maintaining the pandemic period's physical distance.

By all accounts, bicycles are set to stage a full-scale comeback to Dhaka. The planning of more dedicated lanes in the capital lends credence to it. To facilitate bicycles' safe movement, the authorities have brought changes to the design of certain roads. Foremost among them is the provision of keeping spaces for bicycle lanes on both sides of a suitable road -- the width of the lanes being six feet each. Traffic experts, however, come up with suggestions. They want the authorities to ensure that smaller motorised vehicles like motorbikes, baby-taxies, and even pedalled rickshaws, do not cause hindrance to movements of bicycles on the exclusive lanes.   



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