The Bengaluru municipal corporation, BBMP, is working to create dedicated bicycle lanes on both sides of the busy Outer Ring Road -home to many multi-national companies and businesses - by January next year. The initiative to create dedicated lanes using bollards - a first for the city - has been welcomed by cycling enthusiasts, especially amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Many in Bengaluru - second-worst hit city by COVID-19 in India after Delhi - are choosing to give a wide berth to public transport. However, this increases use of private vehicles further choking the city's roads.
"With help from the Directorate of Urban Land Transport, we plan to convert the Outer Ring Road's service lane into a cycle lane. Initially, we have planned 16km of dedicated cycling track on either side of the road from KR Pura to Silk Board Junction as this stretch has many tech parks... Most IT employees and technocrats are enthusiastic about using new forms of transport," BBMP Chief Engineer (Road Infrastructure) BS Prahlad told NDTV.
The project is estimated to cost Rs 12crore and is likely to be completed in the next three months.
While some cyclists are already braving the traffic to get to work, others are looking forward to using the dedicated cycling track.
"For cycling, you are particular about two factors - weather and traffic. Bengaluru has good weather. If they (the government) is making a dedicated cycling lane, it is very good news. I think we can make Bengaluru a cycling hub, like many European cities," Srikant, who works with a social development organisation that invests in start-ups, told NDTV.
Srikant, who cycles to work every day, added that many of his friends have cycles but they don't pedal to work because their offices are far and they have no cycle lanes
"Safety becomes an issue. With this dedicated lane, I think many of them would take to cycling regularly. I am sure cycling as a culture will pick up," he said.
Wahab, another cyclist, also appreciated the initiative and stated that in a busy city like Bengaluru the idea should be implemented as soon as possible.
"I started cycling to work in the beginning of this year. But if you go to arterial roads, motorists do not respect cyclists and drive rashly. If we have a separate lane, it will be encouraging," he said.
Bollards will protect cyclists from vehicular traffic and they can travel without fear, said Mr Prahlad, according to whom the idea crystallised during a study tour to Copenhagen.
"That (cycling without fear) is the main concept. We are not just thinking about Outer Ring Road; we want to create cycling districts. Each district will have 12 wards and space will be identified for cycle lanes without disturbing traffic on the main carriageway," he said.