Cycling has gathered a lot of attention in India in recent years. Cycling tours, cycling activities, fundraising cyclothons, occupy a lot of city events page of major newspapers of megacities of the country. The benefit to the environment as well as health is the attraction for using and encouraging the use of cycles.
Seeing an opportunity in the space, the food-delivery app Zomato, introduced mechanical and electric cycles in their delivery fleet. The brand came up with the idea as a solution to fight extreme traffic and parking issues in the mega cities. It has delegated the deliveries within 2.5 km area radius to cyclists who can actually reach faster as they can overtake easily amid traffic.
About 50,000 cyclists have already started delivering for Zomato across 12 cities with a majority of them in Delhi NCR. The company has now partnered with bike-sharing apps like Yulu and Mobycy to roll out electric cycles in over 150 cities of the country.
While the move is very smart since it cut costs of fuel to the company and can open up a wider pool to hire, it raises questions towards the company’s concern for the safety of its employees. India is surely moving towards adopting cycling as a sport. However, it is yet to start being an acceptable mode of transportation on daily basis by the majority of people. This is why there is no cycling-specific infrastructure in cities major cities like Mumbai. Also, the cyclists do not have any extra rights on the road, unlike the western countries.
In 2017, the Chief Minister of Maharashtra had approved a civic body’s proposal to construct a cycling track in Mumbai. The 39 km long and 10 m wide track called “Green Wheels Along Blue Lines” will go from the eastern suburb of Mulund to Wadala in Mumbai. The project would be the largest infrastructure project for non-motorised transportation in the city. The project will also be replicated in various other cities.
After the inauguration of these tracks, cycling will not be an unsafe mode of transportation. Until then, we can hope for the best for these cyclist food deliverers.