Taking to bicycle
The 'campus-based cycle service programme' launched at Dhaka University is a welcome, yet long overdue initiative. Now, it should not remain confined to DU campus alone. Other educational institutions in the metropolis ought to encourage bike as a favourite mode of mobility with their complements of bicycle stands and repair outfits put in place.
In fact, bicycle which is manufactured in the country, has a whole range of potential as an environment-friendly, inexpensive and healthy means of transportation to be adopted on a massive scale across the country.
Actually, for a city like Dhaka the ideal transport should have been the two-wheeler given the income level of most inhabitants and the limited road spaces involving short-to-medium distance traveling. Instead, pedal richshaws have largely taken their places as people would neither walk nor learn to ride a bicycle. In the process, their movement has cost more and more with motorised transport guzzling petrol at a huge cost to national exchequer wreaking havoc on the environment on top of the other agents of air and surface pollution constantly at work.
There is no second opinion on the rationale for taking to bikes, especially for the young and even middle aged. But this would sound like wishful thinking as long as we have not made Dhaka city into a bicycle-friendly one. We should have lanes for bicycle to any new thoroughfare we might build and try to earmark space for cycles wherever the existing road network would allow.
True, the pedestrian and cycle user have little traffic sense as the former is given to jay walking and the latter biking through the middle of the road along the road dividers, risking their lives and endangering vehicular movement. Therefore, taking to bicycle on a large scale has a whole lot to do with an instilled sense of traffic as well.