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Ban on Cycling in Kolkata, West Bengal, India


According to the 2011 Census, there are twice as many cycles and non-motorized transport in Kolkata than cars or motor cycles. These non-motorized vehicles make around 25 lakh trips each day [1]. The West Bengal government and police argue that non-motorized transport slows down traffic. The average traffic of Kolkata is about 14 to 18 kms an hour. It is much less than the national average of 22 kms [2].

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Ban on Cycling in Kolkata, West Bengal, India
State or province:West Bengal
Location of conflict:Kolkata
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Urban development conflicts
Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Specific commodities:Ban On Cycling In Major City Roads
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Kolkata is the only metropolitan city in India where trips by cycle (11 per cent) outnumber trips by cars (8 per cent) Traffic accident data for West Bengal (2011) shows only 1.5 per cent of road accidents happen due to fault of cyclists against 71 per cent due to faults of motor vehicle drivers Kolkata has the lowest number of private cars and the least amount of road space (6 per cent) among metro cities. Cycling is practical and popular with the masses With a population of over 14 million, urban agglomeration of Kolkata is among the most densely populated in the country. At least 7,750 people live in one sq km area. Cycling is a practical mode of transport in such areas [4]

Type of populationUrban
Relevant government actors:West Bengal Government, Kolkata Police
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:West Bengal Cyclists Association, Greenpeace India, Social activist Medha Patkar, Kolkata Cycle Arohi Adhikar –O- Jibika Raksha Committee, P.B. Akhbar Bikreta Samity, Hand Cart – Cycle Van Association, PUBLIC, Public Relations Society of India, South Asian Forum for Environment, WWF Kolkata, Centre for Environment and Development
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Industrial workers
Informal workers
Local ejos
Social movements
Wastepickers, recyclers
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Noise pollution
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood
Potential: Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Institutional changes
New legislation
Strengthening of participation
Proposal and development of alternatives:- Set up Non-Motorized Transport Cell (NMT Cell)
- Cycle Tracks on all arterial roads
- Public Bicycle Scheme / Cycle sharing system – Cycle Feeder & Rental Scheme
- Consultation and Capacity Building
-- Promotion, Awareness and Education Campaigns on use of bicycle and other non motorized transport and to look into safety will also be important [7]
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:This ban on bi-cycles is not justified because rest of the world is building cycle lanes and moving toward a more sustainable and equitable modes of transport.
Increasing petrol prices making it impossible for common man to afford private transport.
- Kolkata has become the Pollution & Lung Cancer Capital of India, vehicles being the biggest cause
- Non-motorized transport is imperative to most services for example delivery of milk, newspaper etc [7]
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

National Urban Transport Policy
[click to view]

The West Bengal Traffic Regulation Act, 1965
[click to view]

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[click to view]

[1] Ban on cycling in Kolkata regressive: Activists
[click to view]

[2] Protests over Mamata Banerjees ban on cycles in Kolkata snowball
[click to view]

[3] Kolkata protests blanket ban on cycling
[click to view]

[4] Is cycling a crime?
[click to view]

[5] Make way for cyclists
[click to view]

[6] Medha Patkar writes to Mamata Banerjee for revocation of ban on cycling in Kolkata
[click to view]

[7] Chakra Satyagraha
[click to view]

Facebook page (Cycle Satyagraha )
[click to view]

No Ticket To Ride: Kolkata, India Bans Bicycles To Reduce Traffic Congestion, Terror Threats
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Cops slam brakes on bicycles
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In Kolkata, thousands protest ban on biking on key roads
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Cycling Banned In Indian City
[click to view]

BBC News Cyclists protest against a ban on bikes on Calcuttas main roads
[click to view]

Protests over Mamata Banerjees ban on cycles in Kolkata snowball
[click to view]

Cyclists protest as Kolkata bans bikes from key roads
[click to view]

Chakra Satyaghara Begins at Victoria Memorial - 25th August 13
[click to view]

Other comments:0
Meta information
Contributor:Swapan Kumar Patra
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:960
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