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Reasons Why Delhi Needs A Much Improved Bike Sharing Program

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By Kirti Joshi:

Cycle sharing program is a system where the cycles are rented on short term basis. It is a flexible form of personal public transport where with a smart card or other form of identification one can rent a bicycle. This type of program have massively grown in the past few years, in April 2012 there were 375 such schemes and in April 2013 there were around 535 cycle -sharing programs around the world.

bicycles

In Copenhagen, the bicycle path was first established in 1892. In the 1950s, Copenhagen experienced a decline in cycling due to increasing affordability of motor vehicles. In 1970s, energy crisis which hit Denmark, lead to massive environmental movement, cycling experienced a rebirth and government also introduced car-free Sundays to conserve oil reserves and the cycle culture emerged again. Massive demonstrations were organized in Copenhagen for demanding better infrastructure and safety for the city’s cyclists. From the 1980s until today, the network of cycle tracks and paths within the city has almost doubled in length and it has become the world’s leading green city. Copenhagen has adopted a new cycling strategy called the “good, better, best — The City of Copenhagen’s Bicycle Strategy 2011-2025″ which aims to make Copenhagen the world’s best city to cycle in.

Cycling is considered to be complete workout for the whole body. It’s a proven fact that it builds strength in a holistic manner, strengthens leg muscles and is great for the mobility of hip and knee joints and since every single part of the body is involved in cycling. According to the British Medical Association, cycling just 20 miles a week can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by 50.To sum it up cycling as an exercise can help you to lose weight faster, increase your lung power and also work’s on your leg muscles. It is for all kinds of people, whether rich or poor. Thirty minutes of bicycle riding sums up to 2100 km in a year, it reduces the risk for obesity by 50%, high blood pressure by 30%, heart illness by 50%.

Cycle sharing is part of a broader initiative to reduce health problems, automotive traffic, reducing speed limits, marking dedicated bus lanes to help move people on road efficiently. One of the main reasons for cycle sharing springing up at such a fast pace is that these programs are inexpensive, no maintenance is required and there are less hassles for the cyclist to take care of problems such as parking space and its upkeep. Share-the-Road thinking, treats bicycles as a feasible means of transportation, sharing transportation corridors with automobiles and pedestrians, promotes safe roadway practices and is an intelligent treatment of streets for all roadway users.

In the capital city, Delhi, the inhabitants encounter worsening traffic congestion on the roads nowadays. The rapid urbanization in Delhi has resulted in a tremendous increase in the number of motor vehicles with the increase in population and urban mobilization. The vehicular traffic is now recognized as one of the main sources of air pollution in Delhi and has noticeable impact on air quality. It has been observed that vehicles alone contribute about 64% of the pollution in Delhi while other sources like power plants, industries, and domestic release contribute 16%, 12% and 8% respectively. The number of vehicles registered in Delhi has already crossed 6 million and a sizeable vehicular traffic joins Delhi roads from the neighbouring states. In the present times people have started to lead a very sedentary lifestyle. Seventy percent of India’s urban population is at the risk cardiovascular disease.

To counter the increasing health and transportation problems in NCR, GreenBike, a cycle sharing program was started by Delhi government in the year 2009. Where a person could rent a cycle at INR 10 for 4 hours and INR 5  every hour after that. The main aim of the program was sustainable transport in the city and to make cycling a fashion statement mainly among the youth and school children.”I am happy to be in the “cycle friendly” part of the city. Enthusiastic about this biking commute as it is environment friendly so in a way I am contributing for a greener Delhi” – Asmita Punia, Delhi university student.

But GreenBike plan has its own flaws as there is no proper execution of the plan in Delhi and the cycle lanes are restricted to Delhi university north campus area and some selected south Delhi areas. Also, cycle lanes are terribly missing as you often see motorbikes running through them or street hawkers on them. One of the main reasons why people are not cycling in Delhi is that they feel it would be unsafe cycling with the other petrol/diesel based vehicles. With separate lanes only for the cycles, people will be obliged to provide more space for cyclists with sufficient protection from other traffic.

Having cycles ready to go on the streets will encourages more people to try out sharing, and once they experience its convenience and inexpensiveness, they will then advocate for further developments in the cycling infrastructure–like cycle lanes, paths, and parking which makes it even easier for more riders to join in. Decision taken today will reap benefits in the long term, therefore let’s all hope that this environment friendly transport system will soon show up in a city near you.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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