India to rip out its first “cycle superhighway” to encourage motoring

In November last year BikeBiz reported on the building of India’s first long-distance "cycle superhighway", the first 207kms of which had started to be built in 2015 Utter Pradesh, with plans for the creation of another 270km of seperated cycleways.

However, the Times of India now reports that stretches of the cycle infrastructure will be ripped out because, according to a government minister, they are "hampering the smooth flow of traffic." And for "traffic" read "motorised traffic."

The 207-km-long cycleway in Uttar Pradesh between Etawah and Agra was billed as Asia’s first “cycle superhighway”. A Dutch engineering firm helped to design the two-metre-wide cycleway which started at a lion safari-park and ended at the eastern gate of the Taj Mahal in Agra. In parts the cycleway runs parallel to the main Etawah–Agra highway, and is separated from the road with a concrete divider. 

The idea for the cycleway was said to have come from Akhilesh Yadav, the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. State minister Abhishek Mishra said last year: “It is a historical moment as a world-class cycling infrastructure is being made operational not only for locals but to the people of the state and the nation."

He added: ”Chief minister Yadav wanted to transform the region as an ecologically conscious tourist destination, and the dedicated cycle tracks are a significant step towards promoting green and environment friendly commuting.”

The chief minister had praised the cycle as a symbol of unity, health and environment. “It is the cheapest mode of transport for everyone – the poor, farmers, working class, youths and students,” Yadav said.

However, a new government is "all set to demolish bicycle tracks," reports the Times of India.

"If the cycle tracks are hampering the smooth flow of traffic and narrowing down the roads, they would be done away with," urban development minister Suresh Khanna told the newspaper. 

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