Dhaka city , where the bicycle rides the fastest. I live in a city where the population is around 12 million and growing.The population is growing at 4 percent annually, the fastest growing rate in the world. That said the number of vehicles plying the city roads are near about 8 million.The city has only 8 percent of the roads fit to travel for this massive number of vehicles.
The result is a grid lock for more than 16 hours each day. The rest of the 8 hours of the day is night time, when no one except for the trucks and few heavy duty buses ply the city roads due to lack of security and 24 hours services. I have been using the rickshaw to get around the city for the last 4 years since using the car would get me nowhere back in 2008 and even if it did there was no way to park it if you are self driving.
But starting mid 2012 traffic system began to collapse and the grid locks got much deadlier. Even rickshaws started to get stuck in the tail back jams. Riding the rickshaw does have its advantages, you can hop on and off when in a jam and change the rickshaw after walking some meter or feet. But soon that started to take its toll as well, as more and more people started to hop rickshaws to save time and to get to destinations on time. The number of rickshaws allowed to ply on the city roads are limited to reduce traffic congestion, so no rickshaws for all. I tried walking for a while but it’s just too slow and you get tired easily.
Though walking is good for the health. Solution? Get my MTB bicycle (which I have had since 2009) out on the road to tackle the horrible and sometimes unbearable traffic grid locks. I must say I was a bit skeptic at first seeing the way people drive their vehicles on the roads here in Bangladesh.
But soon enough I started to realize that the benefits of cycling is not just overcoming the traffic but also health wise you start to feel better and much more relaxed as when you are on your bicycle you can always get out of a grid lock no matter how bad it is, in short the solution was found. Pretty soon other folks started to realize the same benefit of biking and now Dhaka has bike clubs and MTB groups with Facebook pages.
These bikers are ready to tackle the problem of this massive city’s everlasting traffic jams and come out of it with speed and a healthy mind. Bike riders are increasing on a daily basis and while those riding in cars looks on as to how lean and fit the bikers look when they whiz past with a smile on their faces as the million taka/dollar toyota’s, Benz’s and BMW’s just sit there burning precious fossil fuel.