About No Cycling Zones in Kolkata #CyKol
In 2008 there was some hue and cry over the Kolkata Traffic Police declaring some streets as No Cycling Zones in Kolkata. That led to a preception that Kolkata Police are averse to cycling in the city. The truth is far from that.
Taking a leaf out of TV shows portraying bicycle-riding community policemen in the West, the authorities here have decided to introduce bicycles for effective policing in a city perennially suffering from pollution and traffic bottlenecks.
The cops are actually in favour of cycling. They realize the advantage of bicycle patrols. Though bicycle patrolling existed in this city, it has been reintroduced with a new motive. Apart from being eco – friendly, ‘bicycle cops’ armed with revolvers and wireless sets, can dash through smaller lanes, carry it over crowds and footpath, can be used to reach the spot fast which bigger vehicles like police van, jeeps and motorcycle cannot.
Yes, there are no cycling zones in Kolkata. But there’s a good chance that every one of them can be circumvented on parallel routes. There’s a misconception that cycles are difficult to take on Kolkata’s roads: Here’s an excerpt from an article bemoaning Kolkata being a supposed No Cycling zone.
There is some truth in that. There are some ‘No Cycling’ zones in Kolkata. But there are simple ways to circumvent them. Check out some excerpts from the article in question:
For some it may sound unbelievable. Bicycle is prohibited in Kolkata streets. On 11th August 2008, the then Commissioner of Police Goutam Mohan Chakraborty issued an order banning cycling in 38 streets in Kolkata. The number has surely gone up now.
Traffic police’s board prohibiting cycling in Kolkata streets
The reason: Cycle is slow!
The order issued on the power vested by Traffic Regulation Act 1965. It said that traffic police could control slow moving vehicles in streets in order to avoid traffic jam and maintain mobility. A traffic surgeon says that the cut-of limit of speed should be 30 seconds a kilometer. Cycles and pulling carts (often used for carrying goods) don’t qualify for it.
And the punishment is fine.
How things go on ground? Traffic surgeon stops a cyclist and says that your cycle is confiscated now. Give me the fine: Rs 70 (Sometimes it is Rs 100, based on how much the police thinks at that moment the fine should be!). Otherwise, go to the court, give fine there, and get back the cycle from this police station. The cyclist is offered with a stamped slip in both of the cases.
Here’s a full list of such zones:
1. Binoy Badal Dinesh Bag South, North and East (Dalhousie Square)
2. Marx Engel Bithi (Govt. Place East), (Govt. Place West), Govt. Place North
3. Council House Street
4. Lalbazar Street
5. R. N. Mukherjee Road (Mission Road -part)
6. Mango Lane
7. Rani Rashmoni Avenue (Octerlony Road)
8. Jawahar Lal Nehru Road (Chowringhee Road)
9. Mother Teresa Sarani (Park Street)
10. Shakespeare Sarani (Theatre Road)
11. Abanindranath Thakur Sarani (Camac Sreet)
12. Sarojini Naidu Sarani (Rawdon Street)
13. AJC Bose Road between Rawdon Street and Cathedral Road Crossings. (Lower Circular Road- part)
14. Guru Nanak Sarani (Mayo Road)
15. Chittaranjan Avenue
16. Asutosh Mukherjee Road
17. Shyamaprasad Mukherjee Road [ Rassa Road (North)]
18. Gariahat Road (South)
19. Biplabi Trailokya Maharaj Road (Brabourne Road )
20. Bepin Behari Ganguly Street ( Chittaranjan Avenue to Lalbazar Street)
21. Mission Row
22. M.G. Road
23. Hemanta Bose Sarani (Old Court House Street)
24. Leela Roy Sarani (Gariahat Road- part)
25. Asutosh Chowdhury Avenue (Ballygunge Road)
26. Indira Gandhi Sarani (Red Road)
27. Babu Tarapada Mukherjee Sarani (Koilaghat Street)
28. Kiran Sankar Roy Road
29. Hare Street
30. Sahid Kshudiram Bose Sarani (Auckland Road)
31. Esplanade Row West
32. North Brooke Avenue
33. Old Post Office Street
34. Church Lane
35. Garstin Place
36. Bankshall Street
37. Ballygunge Circular Road
38. Esplanade Row East
Looks intimidating and one may be excused for presuming that Kolkata is inundated with No Cycling zones. But as mentioned, there are simple ways of circumventing such zones. And in some cases you can do so with a shortcut. Here’s an example:
Notice how the alternative route is actually shorter than the actual no cycling street. Keep track of #CyKol to get a guide of all the no cycling zones in Kolkata.
To celebrate cycling in Kolkata, the Avon India Cyclothon- Kolkata 2012 will be held held on 18 March. To register, come over to Khudiram Bose wing of the Netaji Indoor Stadium between 10 AM and 7 PM on 17 March. Details about the Cyclothon:
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- SMS Short Code – CYCLO – 51818