Hyderabad: Like nearly 150 other cities in the world, Hyderabad has also now got a ‘bicycle mayor’. An Amsterdam-based organisation ‘BYCS’, which promotes use of bicycles in cities, has appointed Selvan Santhana as ‘bicycle mayor’ of Hyderabad to impress upon people the need to use bicycles.
“Global warming is a serious concern. The carbon footprint and carbon emissions should be reduced. The actions of individuals matter in tackling this. Using a bicycle is one way of saying that you care for the environment,” Selvan said.
Selvan points out that if only people inculcate in themselves the habit of using a bicycle to ride to any of their frequented destinations around 5 km from their residence, that would matter a lot. “It is not about which bicycle you ride. It can be any bicycle, including the simple bicycle that is easily available at an economic cost,” Selvan said. The ‘bicycle mayor’ is formulating a plan to seek assistance of the government.
The stretch from Secunderabad to Hi-Tec City, Gachibowli, Madhapur, Kondapur, Jubilee Hills and Kukatpally areas is what he is looking at to ask the government to make them bicycle-friendly. “A exclusive lane earmarked for only those using a bicycle will be necessary,” he said.
Some other cities in India also have ‘bicycle mayors’ and they are also involved in encouraging people to use bicycles. There are ‘bicycle mayors’ for Mumbai, Jaipur, Guwahati, Bengaluru and Vadodara. There are a few thousand people who use a bicycle as a hobby or for fitness in the city. “We make sure we take out our bicycles and ride for at least a few kilometres everyday,” said Ravi Sambari, a cycling enthusiast.
Selvan, who lives in Madhapur and works as a global programme manager for an MNC, is also keen on talking to Hyderabad Metro Rail authorities to allow bicycles to be carried inside the train. “Someone who wants to use only a bicycle to ride to office can take the Metro if necessary and get down at any station and ride for work,” he said.