Daily News: Wheels move for roadside tracks for cyclists
Roadside tracks will be introduced for cyclists on main roads and highways, said Environment and Natural Resources Minister Champika Ranawaka.
Other accommodation such as bicycle parking spaces will be put up in the city and in townships in future road development plans keeping with a resolution to be introduced by the Environment and Natural Resources Development Ministry, the Minister said.
The resolution will focus on providing facilities to cyclists to promote and recognize bicycles as an environmentally-friendly and healthy mode of transport, Ranawaka told a press conference at Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel, Colombo yesterday.
The minister said they will bring in a National Policy to favour cyclists in recognizing their importance in the sphere of environment as non air polluters.
Minister Ranawaka said steps will be taken to construct pedestrian-cyclist tracks alongside main roads and highways to facilitate cyclists.
Trees will be planted adjacent to these cyclists’ paths, he said.
He said bicycle parking lots will be introduced in the city and townships in keeping with the National Policy to be introduced for cyclists.
“We will also integrate the use of bicycles and promotion of them to the public under the Environment Ministry’s National Action Plan, Haritha Lanka to contribute towards its major areas of coverage that fall under Clean Air- Everywhere, Saving the Fauna, Flora and Ecosystem, Doing away with the Dumps, Water for all and always and Greening the industries,” said Ranawaka.
He said 70 percent of environmentally damaging gases are emitted by motorized vehicles. “Cyclists do not contribute to air pollution but their role has been more or less overlooked and we plan to facilitate them for their worthy contribution,” he said.
Over 1,700,000 species of fauna and flora have become extinct in five occasions in the history of mankind and sixth is the disaster we ourselves would bring on us by polluting the air by burning fossil fuel, he said.
Cyclists not only contribute to the protection of air they also contribute towards health, he said.
If one saves the cost that may be incurred due to burning petroleum in a year due to traffic congestion on highways in Sri Lanka one can cover half the cost of Samurdhi allocation given to the needy, he pointed out.
National Mountain Biking Association President Amal Suriyage said they will introduce special insurance schemes to cyclists and will provide infrastructure facilities to them.
Environment Ministry Secretary W.M.Wijesuriya and Central Environment Authority Chairman W. Abeywickrema were also present.