Chennai: The central government has awarded the title ‘India’s Cycling Pioneers’ and a grant of Rs 1 crore to 11 cities. The award was conferred based on a selection process by national and international transport experts.

The cities include Bengaluru, Bhubaneswar, Chandigarh, Kohima, Nagpur, New Town Kolkata, Pimpri Chinchwad, Rajkot, Surat, Vadodara, and Warangal.

The India Cycles4Change Challenge saw 107 cities from across the country test, learn, and scale up different cycling-friendly initiatives, in order to kick-start India’s cycling revolution.

According to Kunal Kumar, Mision Director, Smart Cities Mission, MoHUA, the challenge has transformed cities for cycling, besides creating a community to encourage cycling.

“I’ve also started cycling to work and witnessed the change first-hand. We look forward to supporting the cities in becoming cycling capitals of the world,” he said.

“The India Cycles4Change Challenge has not just transformed cities for cycling but helped create a community of champions for cycling in cities across the country. I’ve also started cycling to work and witnessed the change first-hand. We look forward to supporting the cities in becoming cycling capitals of the world,” he added.

The next step is set to involve the top 25 cities where initiatives will be taken to embed the vision of a cycling-friendly city. This would be accomplished by adopting policies, setting up dedicated departments and creating city-wide plans.

Shreya Gadepalli, South East Asia Programme Lead, ITDP says, “Creative streets for cycling and cyclists will come. We saw clear signs of this in cities across India in the past year.”

However, she believes this is just the start and that cities must scale up to make cycling safe and fun for everyone.

In the past year, the India Cycles4Change Challenge inspired cities to adopt methods of engaging with citizens to test innovative, inexpensive, and quick ideas to remove barriers to cycling.

Meena Pimplapure, a social activist, said that the initiative by the Smart City Mission broke societal norms and empowered women and girls by inspiring them to step out of their homes and cycle.

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