©Dr. Debarati Mukherjee
Today morning as i was coming to hospital for my routine opd, i saw a mini marathon of two wheelers swarming the roads of kolkata. No, not bikes they were bicycles.. hundreds of them allover my route from jadavpur to sealdah..one of the most bustling and crowded route of kolkata.
It was a sight for sore eyes .. youngsters elderly all paddling eagerly to reach their destination, to join their work or to fetch groceries or just to drop their kin at their destination. The buzz,the energy was contagious. I just wanted to get down of my car and join them and have some fun also. It reminded me of my childhood days, paddling through the shady lanes on lazy desserted afternoons with wind in my hair and exploring the narrowest lanes of my neighbourhood and stopping short of traaffic signals on mainroads.
Unlike the nuisance caused by the speeding motorbike tearing down the roads and sometimes even foothpaths and throwing all traffic norms to wind,the cyclist i saw strictly kept to the left lane besides the foot path,didnt interfere with the cars and bus lanes,stopped before the stop line and patiently waited for the green signal and took a detour where ever they were asked to by the traffic men. The urgency and anxiety to reach faster was lacking in them,maybe because of the endorphins released by the exercise,that made them enjoy the journey more than the destination..just going with the flow peacefully.
Seeing the soaring prices of petrol,air pollution,economic crisis,epidemic of obesity, diabetes, cardiac diseases, mental diseases shouldn't this be the new normal for commuting during and after the pandemic??
Use of good helmets and reflectors in the cycles and reserving times and roads exclusively for cycling is all we need to make it safe and feasable.. its definitely time to bring out our cycles from the garages and give them and ourselves a spin. It will be a good investment for our health, pockets and future of this planet.