Bicycles: An integral part of urban transport system in South Asian cities
Bicycles and pedestrians are an integral element of urban transport in South Asian cities. These cities are characterised by heterogeneous traffic (mix of non-motorised and motorised modes) and mixed land use patterns. In addition to bicycles, non-motorised rickshas are used for delivery of goods like furniture, refrigerators, washing machines etc. Semi-skilled workers, carpenters, masons, plumbers, postmen, and courier services use bicycles. Therefore, the demand for bicycles and rickshas exists in large numbers at present and is likely to exist in the future also. This situation is not explicitly recognised in policy documents and very little attention is given to improving the facilities for nonmotorised modes.
Since primarily bicycles and other NMVs use the left most lane of the road, buses are unable to use the designated bus lanes and are forced to stop in the middle lane at bus stops. This disrupts the smooth flow of traffic in all lanes and makes bicycling more hazardous. It is also obvious that in the absence of segregated NMV lanes on arterial roads, it is not possible to provide designated lanes for buses.
The paper presents details from a case study of a corridor in Delhi to illustrate how existing arterial roads can be replanned to provide for safer and more convenient bicycling and at the same time improve efficiency of bus transport system.