Published On: Tue, Nov 29th, 2022

Fellow Cyclists Speak: ‘on Sunday, We Felt Shock. Today, We Are Angry’ | Gurgaon News – Times of India

Gurgaon: Reena Katyal, who recently moved to Gurgaon, was hoping she would one day get to ride with Subhendu Banerjee, especially after coming across his happy posts and infectious smile on social media. “I can’t get over the fact,” she said on Monday as the cycling community struggled to come to terms with Banerjee’s death on Sunday in an accident at Mahipalpur on the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway
“We’re risking our lives already, because there’s every chance that we too might not make it back,” said Katyal, reflecting on the dangers that venturing out on the road present for those on the lowest end of the vehicle chain.
In Banerjee, said Priyanka Agarwal, she had lost a close friend.
“I knew him for the last five years. On Sunday, we felt shock and numbness. Today, we’re angry,” Agarwal told TOI. “Subhendu or any other cyclist should not have felt vulnerable just because he was riding a bike.”
Hemanshu Khanna too knew Banerjee very well. Together, he reveals, the two travelled thousands of kilometres on their cycles, a memory that need not have met such a cruel end.
“You just have to see Golf Course Road in the morning to understand the dangers cyclists face – cars jumping signals, driving on the wrong side, not using indicators, or suddenly braking in the middle of the road,” he said.
The rules of the road, argued Khanna, need to be made far more stringent, and their implementation as strict as possible, so that cyclists can focus on the traffic in front of them, rather than look over their shoulders all the time.
“Traffic rules get broken because there is no fear among commuters. But there should be fear – fear of being caught for drinking and driving, fear of being caught for rash driving,” said Agarwal.
The government, she added, had to take responsibility for road deaths.
“Something like wrong-side driving and speeding that leads to loss of life has to be treated as murder, because there are lives at risk,” said fellow cyclist Pawan Raj Kumar, while emphasising that authorities must start getting tougher on transgressors.
For all the talk of constructing cycle tracks, cyclists point out, there’s little evidence of the same on the ground. It’s a reflection of the obsession among policymakers and urban planners to build roads for cars rather than prioritising, in the words of Kumar, the “mobility of people”.
Meanwhile, cycle tracks take forever in getting made, and lanes for cyclists are announced with much fanfare only to be quickly ignored and colonised eventually by encroachers.
“There should either be dedicated tracks or, like they have in Dubai or cities in Europe, entire areas where vehicles are not allowed. And all this should be implementable and not done in a bits-and-pieces manner,” said Khanna.
“I would love to cycle to work but I just can’t because of the risk to my life. It’s almost as if cyclists are invisible – they don’t see us,” Kumar rued. “People really must start accepting that others too are sharing the road with them,” reminded Katyal. “We don’t want to be losing more lives.

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