Hyderabad: Shwarik Sheikh, a 19-year-old cricketer who is currently gearing up for Ranji Trophy, pedals from Tolichowki to Banjara Hills every day to cycle at Kasu Brahmananda Reddy National Park, popularly known as KBR Park.
“I need to make sure I come really early. Otherwise, the cycling tracks are occupied by cars and other vehicles and the road is taken over by mad traffic,” he says.
In the specific pop-up lanes that are marked for cycling at KBR Park and several other areas in the city, cars and bikes of the walkers cause a major nuisance to cyclers and health freaks, who come enthusiastically hoping for a separate cycling track.
The cyclists are forced to ride on the road which at times has over speeding cars and bikes passing by. “As the tracks have many stationed cars and bikes right from the early hours of the day, we either avoid cycling or risk ourselves and ride on the road,” said Prashant, a resident of Somajiguda.
The bobbing roads around KBR are as wide as 80 to 100 feet, with sharp turns and barking dogs making it even more troublesome for the cycling enthusiasts.
“I love cycling and come here every day. But, the tracks are already preoccupied with other vehicles, which force me to risk myself and ride on the road. The government officials need to do something about this. If the tracks were made for cycling, then it should restrict other activities which include parking and walking,” said Auszad Shaik, an Andhra Pradesh government official and a resident of Banjara Hills. He further added that cycling in the evening is even more dangerous because of heavy traffic.
Kajal Maheshwari, an environmentalist from an NGO called Citizens of Hyderabad, said, “When this government cannot save KBR Park in itself; how can one imagine that they would regulate the parking track? The cycling associations should come together and ask the government to do something about this.”
The cycle pop-up lanes were initiated as a response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic under the India Cycles4Change Challenge which is an initiative of the central government’s Smart Cities Mission. This was done to inspire and support Indian cities to quickly implement cycling-friendly.
Not confining to KBR Park, the government is planning to cover a total of 450 km exclusive tracks running through the city, covering the IT corridors and stretching into the outskirts. To be taken up in a phased manner, the areas to be covered include Cyberabad, Hitech City, Kukatpally, Dilsukhnagar, Charminar, Mehdipatnam, Financial district, Hyderabad Knowledge Centre and Kokapet.