Urban Fold

Bicycling Ban Sparks Outrage in Kolkata

In order to "ease traffic flow" the police commissioner in Kolkata, India (formerly Calcutta) has expanded a ban on bikes to 174 roads across the sprawling city of 14 million. Environmentalists and social activists are protesting the measures.

What would Gandhi do? Probably not undertake the measures the enlightened leaders of Kolkata have decided will improve the city's traffic flow.

"A ban on cycling in one of India’s most polluted and crowded cities has sparked protests in recent days and reignited civic debate over the country’s attitudes toward its poor — many of whom cannot afford even a bus ride — and its commitment to addressing air quality," reports Annie Gowen. "Although bike travel will be allowed on some streets after business hours, activists say the new restrictions are tantamount to a ban on cycling in the entire city. They say the measure makes no sense at a time when traffic and air pollution are worsening in Asia."

“It’s absolutely off-track, and they need to reverse it,” said Anumita Roy Chowdhury, executive director for research and advocacy at the Center for Science and Environment in New Delhi. “In our part of the world, we need to keep people on cycles and public transport, not force them into cars.”

Full Story: City of Kolkata bans bikes to reduce traffic, but India’s environmentalists, workers protest

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