Sourav Chattopadhyay

I am a Software Engineer by profession, with a niche for adventure and always out with some new ideas. I am an active contributor to the endeavors of “Kolkata Cycle Samaj”, with a vision to promote cycling. Cycle is my default mode of transportation as I am very much attached to it because the degree of freedom and the amount of joy we get from cycling is something we never wanted to get rid of. It also gives me an intimate, unfiltered experience of the city around me. Be it daily commute to the office, weekend trip, within the city or outside city commute for anything, I always use my cycle.

How would you describe your mission?

✓ We need to work closely with the government and BYCS to make people aware of the benefits of cycling and building proper cycling infrastructure to ensure safety of the cyclists.
✓ Cycling culture is already present in our city and very much popular among teenagers. But while growing up, they dream of purchasing a big car leaving behind their love for the cycle. For the sake of sustainable environment we must make them aware of thinking green.
✓ Many people think that the cycle is a symbol of poverty. They don’t paddle to maintain their social status. This type of thinking will automatically change when they will see people from different economic backgrounds are coming together.
✓ We have observed that there is a barrier between rich and poor cyclists. Even on roads while cycling nearby they don’t talk to each other. To make a better tomorrow with the help of paddle we need to build up a strong community and fight together.
✓ We have to organize more community cycle rally, social media campaigns, road shows and events in front of schools, colleges, offices and popular places in the city to spread more awareness.
✓ We also need to plan Reward and Recognition Program for the people who choose the cycle as a default mode of transportation.

What are the obstacles and challenges you’re facing in your city?

✓ Howrah is a very old city with a high population with very little road space as compared to city space and cycling lane is nowhere in the urban planning of Howrah.
✓ The environment is already very much polluted which can eventually cause a health hazard to cyclists.
✓ Poor road conditions in some areas of the city can cause accidents to the cyclist, especially in waterlogged conditions.
✓ Many cyclists are from very low-income groups and they can’t afford to purchase proper cycling helmet and light which makes them vulnerable in the roads that don’t have cycle lanes, especially at night.

What are your next steps now that you are the Bicycle Mayor?

My major focus will be in the following areas:
✓ Cycling infrastructure development in the city with the help of government and BYCS
✓ Awareness about the benefits of cycling and safety requirements
✓ Building strong cycling community for a better tomorrow

What can other cities learn from your city?

✓ “Sabooj Sathi” scheme of the government to empower young students to achieve new feats in the future through the bicycles got global recognition.
✓ The government is also doing a great job in waterbody prevention for environment.