On Tuesday, Guwahati Active MObility Forum Launched with the vision of making Guwahati a cycling and walking-friendly city by 2030.  This year, the covid-19 pandemic gave us an opportunity to initiate measures to promote cycling as it gives people an equitable, clean and inexpensive option to travel for their work by maintaining social distance and develop their immunity. Also they do not contribute to pollution and congestion in the city streets.

Opting for cycling as a way of life, a concerned group of individuals came forward and constituted Guwahati Active MObility Forum (GAMOF). GAMOF’s objectives will be to promote cycling as a Safe, Accessible, Aspirational mode of transport, while also working towards making Guwahati safe for walking. The forum will act as an Interest, Pressure, Active Citizens Group, and a Civil Society Organisation to create awareness for the need for safe cycling and walking infrastructure in the city.

During lockdown, a large section of Guwahatians was seen embracing cycling in their daily lives, be it as a mode of transport or just to take care of their health.

With the number of cardiovascular and lifestyle-related diseases on the rise, walking and cycling are two of the most preferred active mobility options. Also, the two go a long way as sustainable options in reducing carbon footprint, traffic congestion, and countering the effects of climate change. Prioritizing these will help achieve 11 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. These also have the potential to reduce the growing number of traffic accidents and resultant fatalities.

Guwahati is the third city after Bengaluru and Mumbai to have Bicycle Councillors. Since this was the first time such an initiative was taken in Guwahati GAMOF had received applicants from 19 wards and after a few rounds of scrutiny, they have found councillors for 9 wards. For the rest of the wards, Forum will start the next phase after a couple of months.

Through a Press Release, Guwahati Active MObility Forum said, “The Bicycle Councillors are a team of change-makers who will take up leadership roles at the Ward level to promote cycling among all sections of the society. It is an honorary, voluntary and non-political position given by BYCS (Netherlands) to an individual for the tenure of 2 years. Supporting the Bicycle Councillors will be a team of Bicycle Ambassadors who also have been selected from the wards. They were selected by a 9 member panel consisting of conscientious citizens from Guwahati consisting of Academicians, Entrepreneurs, Govt. employees and activists. ”

It further stated that “We have a dedicated team comprising of Bicycle Councillors and Bicycle Ambassadors, who will work under the leadership of the Bicycle Mayor of Guwahati for the purpose. We also have an esteemed panel of advisors and mentors to advise us on our mission.”

The position of Bicycle Mayor of Guwahati is an honorary position bestowed upon by
Amsterdam-based social enterprise called BYCS (pronounced bikes). They are working on a global mission called 50by30 whereby they envisage 50% of all working trips in a city are made on cycles by the year 2030. Supporting us in our mission is Pedal for a Change, a social enterprise working towards promoting the use of bicycles in all spheres of life and

The Green Lane Foundation, a research-based organisation, working towards advocating and promoting sustainable urban transportation, road safety and liveable streets.

Recently acclaimed international actor Adil Hussain had given out a video message
appealing all to use bicycles as much as possible and avoid motor vehicles to reduce carbon footprint and cut down on pollution. He had posted the video in his social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, that got highly viewed and shared.

 

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