Mangaluru: Second Saturday of every month, members of Mangalore Bicycle Club (MBC) will observe “Car-Free Day” to encourage people to use alternative modes of transport, either take a bus or walk or ride a bicycle to work, do errands and other work. The idea is to give an experience of car-free streets to the people and persuade them to use sustainable modes of transport. They say that it will save an average of 2.6 kg of greenhouse gas emissions per person per day.
Members of the Club this morning and other like-minded citizens decided to leave back their vehicles at home, and took other mode of commute to work etc-many rode their bicycles to work or do other errands. Ganesh Nayak, the founder of Mangalore Bicycle Club rode his bicycle to his business from home, a distance of about 5km. His wife wife Preethi also joined him on a cycle. Donny Menezes and his friend Kishan Bangera, who are pro-cyclists left their vehicles back home, and rode their bicycles to do their errands. Riding their bicycles from their respective homes- Anand Prabhu made it to his business (Prakash Beedies Ltd); Sadhashiv Rao to his business; and Reporter Anil Kumar Sastry to his media office. Dr Smitha Rao and her husband walked from their residence to their clinic.
These members and many others wanted to spread a message that taking alternative ways other than driving cars/riding two-wheelers can save the environment from pollution .These cyclists are not insisting on citizens not just to ride the cycles to reach their destinations/work or shopping, but they can use other mode of transport. Ganesh Nayak speaking to mangalorean.com said, ” Car-Free Day is not just limited to using bicycles, for which the Club stands for. The aim is to create awareness about the benefits of using public transport or non-polluting modes of transport as well as the air pollution hazards resulting from the use of personalised modes of transport. Leaving behind one’s personal vehicle at home would also mean lesser congestion on roads, and also one can avoid parking problems.
It is learnt that MBC is more of an informal association with over 200 members and over 1000 followers on its Facebook page, has planned this Car-Free Day every second Saturday of the month, and there are many interested participants who want to join in this campaign for a better and cleaner. Even if 10 percent of them participate in the drive, it would be a great boost to the initiative.
There was one office going lady this morning by the name Mercy who had pledged to walk to her workplace on this car-free day. She said businesses and corporate houses should encourage and convince their employees to pledge support to this initiative, urging their employees to shun cars and try alternative modes of transport such as buses, walking etc The objective is to put across the idea that more cars could not be afforded on already congested Mangaluru roads.
On Thursday, a T-Shirt launching and distribution was held at the Police Commissioner’s Office, which was attended by the media personnel. Launching the T-Shirt which had a message saying” Car-Free day-Turn Off Your Engines”, PC S Murugan said, ” This is a very good initiative taken by MBC, where a Car-Free day will help the city police in controlling the growing traffic. I will arrange a meeting with the traffic police officials and urge them not to use four-wheeler every second Saturday of the month. If you people can do it, our police personnel also can do it”
He further said, ” If traffic is less, cyclists can ride freely without any danger. Apart from pollution, there are numerous accidents taking place every day. To avoid all these, taking a public transport or riding a bicycle at least once a month or a week will be a good idea. Although this City doesn’t have a proper infrastructure for bicycles and pedestrians, this initiative by MBC is a positive step to reduce the carbon footprint. Although we are observing Traffic Safety Week once a year, we may decide to have Traffic Safety Week every month, in which MBC also can take an active part in promoting this initiative”.
MBC member, Kishan Bangera speaking during the T-shirt launching said, ” It’s nice to note that many citizens, young and old have opted for cycling for various reasons, like for health benefits, saving the environment, as hobby and so on. This movement could go a long way in preserving the environment for the next generation. While we are doing our part to promote this campaign for the benefit of the City, the citizens also need to support this campaign to make it a successful one”.