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.

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IEMERALD
IEMERALD
6 years ago

HERE IS THE ANSWER MR CHAMPIKA OR WHATEVER.
MAKE BICYCLES DUTY FREE LIKE THE BIG SUVS FOR YOU LOT. MAKE IT AFFORDABLE TO EVERYONE ESPECIALLY THE POOR AND DOWNTRODDEN. THE SAVINGS ON FUEL IMPORTS WILL OFFSET THE DUTY LEVIED ON BICYCLES.
STOP THE TALIKING AND DO THE DOING. ALL WE HEAR IS TALK AND MORE TALK NO ACTION. PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS.

Gamarala
Gamarala
6 years ago
Reply to  IEMERALD

Dear Minister Ranawake

I have noted you come out with brilliant ideas and I welcome your proposal to create a cycle friendly environment. Your proposal will go a long way in Colombo to reduce the number of vehicles in the streets of Colombo.

The benefits of creating a cycling culture is very healthy and will save.millions of foreign exchange. Apart from that cycling is a useful exercise young, old, men, women, children and rich and poor everyone can engage in .

By encouraging and facilitating people to cycle the govt will help to

1 Reduce the people suffering from heart and lung deseases and promote the health of the nation.

2 Reduce the congestions and traffic jams on our roads and can reduce road accidents and this will encourage people to cycle short distances and not use their cars.

3 Reduce the amount of foreign exhange paid to oil rich countries to buy million of gallons of fuel. However, I find it is very dangerour to cycle in towns and cities in Sri Lanka. This danger puts off people cycling on our roads.

I, therefore, ask that you being a progressive and important inister in the cabinet propose urgent measures

1 to allow duty free cycles into the island so that even people from economically difficult background can afford bicycles

.2 create a safe environment and exclusive cycle lanes for people to cycle without being knock down by flyning motor vehicles that always ignore the cyclist on the road.

3 It is absolutely necessary and economically worthwhile to invest on exclusive cycle lanes as in countries like France, Germany, Holland, UK and other places.

Tissa Atapattu
Tissa Atapattu
6 years ago

June 04, 2015

Mr. Champika Ranawaka is a man after my own heart. We certainly do have to take a step backwards and encourage bicycling to save energy, the environment, improve health etc. I suggest incentives for people to cycle. Remove the status symbol of operating a fancy car. Lt us get our house in order first, when roads are ready, public transportation is better organized , we can continue importation of cars, interim, I suggest a MORATORIUM for 5 to 10 years on imports. I live in California and see the chaos and congestion caused by so many vehicles on the road.

I also have some ideas for alternative energy and would to discuss with him personally if he would send me his direct e-mail address. Re. myself, he can ask Mr. Karu Jayasuriya or Mrs. Srima Dissanayake widow of the late Gamini DIssanayake.

Mad Hatter
Mad Hatter
6 years ago

As long as our buses continue driving the way they do on the road there is no way i am riding a bicycle anywhere near them.

Garawi
Garawi
6 years ago

Though there is sense using bicycles will be only for the poor! The rich will only take the private car. The parliamentarians will make an excuse that they need to get to the sessions fast and need a chauffeur driven SUV. Why an SUV when our roads are so good I do not understand! The parliamentarians must set an example by going to work by bike first,everyday! As mentioned in the comments,first the bus drivers need to be decsiplined tofollow road rules and also to drive at 30km/h and not at 70km/h in the city! And outside of cities at 60 and not 100. Also dedicated bicycle lanes are a must. South east asia has a lot of bicycle users but the buses are not killers there! Where the buses are killers like the Philippines there are no bicycles. Until these are done there will be no takers.

prithiviraj Kulasingham
prithiviraj Kulasingham
6 years ago

Please makes the roads more friendly for cyclists.

piyal
piyal
6 years ago

First you have to secure the safety of the cyclists – we do not live in 60s or 70s –
With extremely poor quality three wheel and motor bike riders the road traffic in sri lanka
is simply a living hell for the law abide rest of the driving force. Separate lane for each category and harsh punishments should be enforced if any one think of promote cycles into
roads infected with careless drivers all around.