Cycling enthusiasts in Bengaluru now have the chance to become the ‘Bicycle Mayor’ of the city. In a first of its kind initiative, the Mayor will be appointed to promote cycling as a cleaner and cheaper alternative to motorised transport in the city.
The initiative is part of an ongoing global project by Dutch organisation BYCS, which aims to achieve 50% bicycle usage in various cities by 2030. As part of its operations in India, BYCS has tied up with the Evangelical Social Action Forum (ESAF), an NGO headquartered in Thrissur, Kerala.
Applications for the post are open to every Bengalurean, provided that they actively promote cycling as a means of transport and have no vested interests in commercial activities. Applicants will be shortlisted by a six-member panel which will then select the Mayor based on individual interviews. The winner will hold the post for two years.
“The Bicycle Mayor’s main responsibility is to work towards achieving 50% bicycle use in the city by 2030. It is up to them to come up with innovative and creative activities that will help reach this goal,” Manju George, Senior Programme Manager at ESAF Bengaluru, told TNM.
Currently there are Bicycle Mayors in seven countries across the world. In India, Bhopal had appointed its first Mayor in 2016, to which reception has reportedly been positive.
ESAF is no stranger to eco-friendly initiatives in the city. The group was a core organising member of the Bengaluru Coalition for Open Streets (BCOS), which was instrumental in starting the Cycle Day concept in October 2013. This initiative received support from the Directorate of Urban Land Transport and has since witnessed rising popularity in the city. It has also organised ‘Walk to School’ and ‘Cycle to School’ initiatives in the city.
Applications are invited until April 23. Interested citizens can apply here.