Many cities under Smart Cities mission in India have tried to implement public bike sharing system as well as temporary bike lanes in certain areas. Amidst the coronavirus crisis since the use of public transport poses some risk after any ease in lock-down restrictions it would be viable for cities to look at cycling as a mode of transport for daily necessity and services. Apart from being environment friendly cycles are cost efficient way of moving around the cities and decreases congestion. With initial implementation of temporary bike lanes, open street initiatives or allowing cycling with certain rules and regulations in place the city can achieve long term goals with time and bring about a safer cycling culture.
Bhubaneswar has adopted a public bike share system as well as temporary bike lanes along various streets. Photo: Author
Temporary painted bike lanes along various streets in Bhubaneswar were initiated as part of smart city projects.
Now, city leaders are exploring plans to make cycling safer in the short term, and maintain interest in the activity once the new coronavirus (COVID-19) subsides. Among many countries here are some that have taken an active approach in the current crisis.
France is encouraging people to cycle to keep pollution levels low once lock-down restrictions end. Under the €20 million scheme, everyone will be eligible for bike repairs of up to €50 at registered mechanics. The funding will also help pay for cycle training and temporary parking spaces.
Mayor of Paris has been on the forefront by introducing schemes like ‘Paris Breathes’ i.e Paris Respire that begun in May 2016 consisting of plans like car free streets and introducing bicycle lanes. The French capital Paris is barring private cars from one of its major central roads, the Rue de Rivoli, which will instead have separate lanes for bicycles and for buses, taxis, emergency vehicles and certain deliveries.The measures will remain in place for the duration of the pandemic but depending on their success they will be made permanent. Paris is also aiming to create cycle routes along the paths of its three busiest Metro lines.
The Colombian capital of Bogotá is opening 76 km of temporary bike lanes to reduce crowding on public transport and help prevent the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19), as well as to improve air quality. 22 km of the new lanes were converted overnight in March 2021 by re-configuring car lanes.
A commuter in Bogota using temporary bike lanes that let him to reach office safer and faster (Photo: Eduart_ort, Twitter)
Pop-up bike lanes in Berlin on a usually busy street. (Photo : @James_J_Conway )
Similarly Barcelona under it Mobility plan 2013–2018 has considerably increased its bicycle lanes within existing infrastructure and streets which aimed to provide 308 Km of cycle lanes. Nearly 130 interventions were planned for various streets and locations in order to achieve the full extension of the bicycle-lane network.
Av. de les Drassanes in Barcelona using wider walkways as part of bicycle lanes. (Photo by Author)
Built Overnight pop-up bike lanes for bikers in Tirana
Praterstrasse pop-up bike lane (Photo : Andreas Lindinger )
Cities in India have already started looking at efficient use of road space and using urban design guidelines at city level. However, a key to making workable interventions would be assertion on long term vision plans with temporary trials. The need is also to rethink budgets and incentives to cycling and such modes over cars. Some of the key features and guidelines to undertake these temporary tracks could be taken from the complete street design guidelines. As a fellow, a benchmark checklist was formulated that can help a city admins to undertake necessary changes to build temporary tracks. These features consider bringing safety, continuity and obstruction free cycling as a key to making them successful.