The Cyclist: "We Too Have A Right To The Road" | January 1957

"We do not all pay the Rs. 2 per year tax," he [Achru Ram] said without embarrassment.
Achru Ram did not. "Why pay the tax?" he asked. "what do the authorities do for us?" And he groused: there were not sufficient cycle lanes; where they existed they were narrow, uneven. Despite the heavy traffic he preferred the road because, he said, the cyclist was safer there. "But would the traffic policemen leave us alone? Certainly not," he exclaimed. "We are pushed off the streets as if we are second-class citizens. The pedestrians always come in our way. The motorists seem to think because they ride on four wheels they have the sole right to the road."
Achru Ram insisted that the bicycle was the poor man's vehicle. On an average there is one for every family in Delhi. Children must be taken to school. The wife must go shopping. On holidays the whole family must call on friends and relatives. "My pay is Rs. 110 per month. I can't afford the luxury of a tonga or auto-rickshaw for such trips. So I put my wife on the carrier, my baby in the shopping basket in front and my older boy on the cross-bar," he said.
Reminded that taking more than one person on a bicycle or riding four abreast constitutes a traffic hazard, Achru Ram countered; "What about the trucks and thelas which are allowed to carry long, projecting iron bars and pipes through the most crowded parts of the city. Are not the reckless auto-rickshaw drivers a greater menace to road safety than the cyclists?"

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