Cycling Culture Can Help Cure Sri Lanka’s Road Congestion: Min Ranawaka

Jun 04, 2015 (LBO) – Cycling can help reducing the congestion on Sri Lanka urban roads and conserve energy, Minister of Power and Energy said.

“A vehicle needs to travel at 60-70 km/h to be fuel economical, this was possible in the 1980’s in Colombo, but now it has become 8 km/h and in the next five years it will be 6 km/h,” Champika Ranawaka, Minister of Power and Energy said.

“So we can make cycles the answer to this issue of short distance travel. Cycles can travel at 15-20 km/h,”

“There are many advantages of using a bicycle, no fuel is required and is completely non-polluting and environmental friendly. There are virtually no running costs, and all members of the family can use the bicycle.”

The Minister made these comments while announcing “Go Green Cycle Revolution” organized by the Cycling Federation of Sri Lanka jointly with the Ministry of Power and Energy.

Central Bank data shows that Sri Lanka’s vehicle registration grew 31.5 per cent to 429,556 in 2014, backed by low interest leasing facilities, Japanese Yen depreciation against Sri Lankan rupee, rise of hybrid vehicle imports and increase in of motor cycle registration.

The number of new vehicles registered during 2014 increased by 31.5 per cent to 429,556 following a decrease of 18 per cent in the previous year.

Sri Lanka’s interest rates are now at three decade low and the reduction in fuel prices by the new government are also pushing down vehicle operating costs.

Minister Ranawaka says that in most European cities the cycle culture is growing and you see urban dwellers taking the cycles to work.

“Most European cities are adopting the cycling life style after studing it and you see alot of people riding a bicycle to work and back.”

Analysts say that in Sri Lanka it might be difficult to introduce a cycle culture like in the European cities because of the hot climate.

However, cycles are a common mode of travel in most Sri Lankan villages as it is cost effective and can be used easily on the narrow rural roads.

Meanwhile, head of the Sri lanka’s Cycling Federation says that there is a lack of cycle lanes in the country’s cities to take this initiative forward.

“The only issue is that we don’t have enough cycling lanes at the moment; there are only two designated areas, one at Independence square and the other at Belanwila,” Amal Harsha De Silva, President, Cycling Federation of Sri Lanka said.

“So we are appealing to the Urban and Municipal Councils to take the necessary action to add a lane each in their areas,”

“The Federation has appointed an official in this regard from the organization to co-ordinate with the relevant Councils to expedite the process of getting cycle lanes built.”

The Exhibition Bicycle Rally will be on 7th June 2015.