The transportation dynamics are being redefined world over to become mass transit oriented from hitherto private motorist oriented. Multi-modal, connected transport designs are being accepted as more conducive for the livability of the city, as opposed to designs prioritizing the motorists’ convenience. The importance of the bicycle in providing the last mile connectivity in such a multi modal transport set up is being pursued by some cities in a very successful manner. Priority is given to the cyclist, with specially designed infrastructure which also encourages greater respect for cyclists.
However, the picture in Indian cities is still very motorist dominated, and infrastructural development is largely directed towards serving private vehicles.
Public transport services vary in quality from city to city and in majority of cases it is poor. In Pune it is downright dismal. It falls short in all parameters that matter for a user. This has encouraged uncontrolled growth of private vehicles, now seen as essential for mobility. In this situation the bicycle finds itself in a very strange position. It is not popular, but nonetheless used by a large chunk of the population, as its only mode of transport in the city.
While the bicycle stands for a healthy, non-polluting lifestyle in many cities of the world, in India and Pune, it is viewed as a vehicle of those who can’t afford anything better or at most for school children. This perception is reflected in the insensitivity of motorists and other vehicle users towards cyclists on the road as well. Even though Pune is one of the few cities having cycle tracks, they are disconnected, full of obstacles and badly constructed. It just shows that the city administration is lethargic, if not apathetic towards the needs of cyclists in the city.
The driving idea behind this initiative was that in the present condition, the cyclist in Pune has become invisible; even though the bicycle has a modal share of about 18% today. Though the percentage of cycle trips has gone down, the sheer number of cyclists runs into thousands and calls for due consideration in planning the city’s infrastructure. Through this project we attempt to give a name and face to those cyclists who cycle every day, regardless of the problems because that is their only alternative. We have started a process of real engagement with different stakeholders to push sustained change for developing greater sensitivity towards the cyclist.
Capturing the life of some of the cyclists who cycle in the city everyday was the most interesting way to portray them as an entity with needs and equal rights on road. It adds the much needed personal touch to advocacy for cycling rights through its story telling and interesting selection of cyclists. The video vignettes are part of 'The Invisible Cyclist' project, supported by Global Greengrants Fund, and comprises of The Invisible Cyclist Booklet and a Workshop on Cycling in the City to share and take forward the insights from the exercise.
The Invisible Cyclist - Chhaya Gore
The Invisible Cyclist - Pradeep Jagtap
The Invisible Cyclist - Abdul Majid Shaikh
The Invisible Cyclist - Chandrakant Methkar
Cyclists Speak Up!