In 2018, pedestrians comprised more than 50% fatalities on Mumbai streets; the numbers for Delhi and Bangalore stood at 44% and 40%. Our streets have turned into a battlefield between cars and citizens, and citizens almost always lose.
Thanks to lack of political will and unfortunate US-style aspiration, we have arrived at a sad state of affairs as far as urban mobility is concerned. In this first of a four-part series, the author explains the latent inequality and hierarchy in our city streets.
A recent survey among close to 3000 employees of an IT company in Gurugram highlighted the city’s traffic woes. But it also yielded interesting data points that indicate improved cycling infrastructure could change things here.
Indian city roads witness a David-Goliath tussle everyday between cycles and motorised transport. And the latter still holds a big advantage. As more and more cities formally launch bike sharing programmes, will the commoner take to cycling in a big way, given the safety concerns?
To protest potholes, axe-wielding men of the Maharashtra Navanirman Sena (MNS) dig up a well-laid footpath. Government authorities evict vendors from station premises and allow car parking in the space. Who cares for the pedestrian in Mumbai?
Carpooling can provide a comfortable alternative to private transport, while reducing congestion on city roads. But many factors like novelty of the concept and lack of government support are holding back companies in the space.
Cycle days, Raahgiri, Pathotsav — events that promote pedestrian-only zones are catching on in a big way, but the larger question of whether they can have a real, sustainable impact on how people commute in cities remains to be decided.