Gobar Times
Open Forum

Good heavens! Watch out for the SkyCycle

Our last cover story prodded you to demand for more ‘power to the pedal’. We have introduced you to the serious issue of walkability (or lack thereof). Panditji has been zealously campaigning for cyclists and pedestrians. So what else are we going to talk about this time? Well, our story is about something more radical

Fantastic? Fantasy?

London has witnessed a 173 per cent increase in the number of cyclists, over the past decade on major roads, as reported in Daily Mail, a leading British newspaper. Now, the world’s first-ever ‘bicycle highway’ has been proposed for the city.

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No buses, no cars and easy commute with exclusive cycling paths above existing railway lines. Too good to be true? Who better to answer that than the man behind the mission, Norman Robert Foster, aka, Sir Foster. A renowned architect and cycling enthusiast, he has been quoted as saying, “I believe cities where you can walk or cycle, rather than drive, are more congenial places to live. To improve the quality of life for all in London and to encourage a new generation of cyclists, we have to make it safe. However, the greatest barrier to segregating cars and cyclists is the physical constraint of London’s streets, where space is already at a premium.”

So what solution does Sir Foster offer? Here are some astonishing details. Aptly called SkyCycle, the proposal puts forth plans for a network of three-storey-high pathways. The 135 miles (217 km) highway is to be built above existing railway services. It will cost £220 million to build its first four-mile stretch.

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‘Cyc’nics say

The idea of car-free cycling routes is very exciting, but there a few concerns that have been brought to the fore by the cynics - cyclists would face:

  • Immense wind exposure at such a height.
  • Steepness of the ramps required to reach the SkyCycle

While most Indian cities, towns and their roads are bursting at the seams, there is a dire need to address issues of space and mobility. Sure, something as revolutionary as the SkyCycle is not necessarily applicable in the Indian context just as yet. But we could at least applaud and acknowledge such innovative ideas. Hope the proposal does not remain on papers. Fingers crossed!

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Good heavens! Watch out for the SkyCycle