Cycling-lane, still an elusive dream in Capital

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By Naveel Ahmed

ISLAMABAD, Jul 17 (APP):The dream of adding cycling-lane to Capital’s roads and highways still
remains illusive, apparently due to paucity of funds and indecisiveness
on part of civic agency.
The idea, floated to help lessen traffic rush and eventually promote
environment-friendly conveyance in the Federal Capital, is yet to
materialise despite the rhetoric of adding lanes to every main road of
the Capital two years back.
The traveling-cum-exercise mode ensures healthy impact besides
providing an inexpensive mean of mobility for cyclists.
Talking to APP, some residents on Monday took exceptions to the
inordinate delay and passionately called for adding a cycling lane along
each road of the Margalla city for cyclists.
They said it would definitely promote the healthy activity, besides ensuring
safety of the public.
“The cycling trend has vanished across the country during the past some decades
due to availability of cars and buses,” said Ali Ahmed, a student of Master of Science.
He pointed out the unprecedented popularity gained by the ride-sharing services within
a short span of time, did indicate that the public had been less concerned about their
health by unintentionally ignoring this pro-health activity.
Ali said “I still ride bicycle to university and plan to continue for the sake of
my own health.”
Shayan Saeed, another student of intermediate, suggested that the cycling was a
better option for teenage students who had to manage daily affairs with meager
resources . “We, the youth, must encourage this mode of transportation by keeping
in mind the climate change factor,” he added.
Dr Shafeeq, a cardiologist , told APP that every fourth, out of 10, was a victim
of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular and diabetes that had somehow
become a perplexed issue for medical fraternity.
Stressing exercise to avoid chronic ailments, he said, “Cycling is one of the
best forms of aerobic exercises that helps to burn extra calories, improving
metabolism, and balancing blood sugar level.”
Islamabad Traffic Police (ITP) spokesperson said, the use of the bicycle
was no more in a picture that needed to be promoted through awareness
campaigns. The ITP’s education unit was fully cooperating with some private
organisations and providing assistance to them in their activities with regard
to such campaigns, he added.
A CDA official said that the cycling-lanes were added to three major roads,
including Margalla Road, Constitution Avenue and Seventh Avenue under
Islamabad Green Charter Programme two years ago.
He admitted that the Mayor had vowed to introduce these lanes at major
road, but it could be not carried out due to paucity of funds.
Uzma Saeed, an environmentalist, sharing her experience in Euorpen countries,
said she witnessed large number of bicycles on the roads for which lanes had
been specified. “We should specify the lanes first; then go for the awareness,”
she added.
She urged the youth to opt for cycling as large part of the country’s population
consisted of youngsters.
“If we manage to turn the 10 motrists to the bicycle users a month, it may help
in bringing back the pleasent weather of Islamabad that did entice tourists in late
70s and 80s,” she said.