To encourage students in the city to cycle to school once they reopen, the Indus Cycling Embassy here has launched ‘Bicycle Trains’ to familiarise them with various routes they can pedal along.
Since students cannot be expected to cycle to school straightaway once they reopen, bicycle trains are being organised for the past couple of days to acquaint them with the routes. For now, they are being organised on two routes — from Kachani to Kowdiar and from Sreekaryam to Kowdiar.
The Kachani bicycle train for students begins at 6.20 a.m. and takes the Vattiyurkavu-Maruthankuzhi-Edapazhanji-Manaveeyam-Kowdiar route to conclude at 7 a.m. The second bicycle train from Sreekaryam begins at 6.15 a.m. and takes the Medical College-Ulloor-Kesavadasapuram-Pattom-Kuravankonam-Kowdiar route.
Bicycle trains on other routes such as Karakulam-Peroorkada; Kamaleswaram-Manaveeyam; Karamana-Thirumala; and Chakka-Pettah-Pattoor are on the cards.
There are already 15 students taking part in these bicycle trains. With school reopening still a distance away, word-of-mouth publicity and social media will attract more young cyclists, especially from the bicycle brigades in schools, says Prakash Gopinath, the city’s bicycle mayor.
Encouraging students to cycle to schools is an attempt to develop a cycling culture, he says. The idea is that when students pedal to school in large groups, they are very visible and there is safety in numbers. Also, traffic personnel can be alerted about their approach, making it possible to receive favourable traffic signals. “If a couple of students cycle from, say, Peroorkada to SMV school, they can be joined en route by students from other schools such as Cotton Hill, Model School, or St. Joseph’s and ride together, even if they will need to branch off somewhere during the trip.”
The children, he says, will be escorted by adult members of the organisation during the morning school rides.
For the ongoing bicycle trains, the COVID-19 protocol is strictly ensured. Besides helmets, masks, sanitisers, water bottles, and physical distancing are ensured, says Prakash.