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Can Bangalore ban motorcycles ?

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At some stage soon, auto-rickshaws & motorcycles will have to be banned or atleast, confined to city's outskirts to streamline traffic within the congested CBDs of Indian cities. Bangalore, with it's relatively richer citizens can perhaps lead the way in this!

A case study report, full of good explanatory maps & photos by Karl Fjellstrom, ITDP (dtd 15-Sep-2008) about how motorcycles were banned in a span of about 16 years can be downloaded from this link on filesanywhere.

Excerpts from this report are worth looking at (especially, the section "Lessons from Guangzhou’s successful motorcycle ban") in relation to our own future needs :


Gradual implementation

From 1991 to 2007, the implementation of Guangzhou’s motorcycle ban was not done in a sudden
or radical way, but was rather progressively carried out, starting with a range of gradually tightening
restrictions and ending with a complete ban. The policy and key strategic decisions were based on
investigation and analysis.

The motorcycle ban program was drawn up by the government, but with significant public input
and comment. On 15 January 2004, the city government held public hearings on the motorcycle
ban, and announced the specific content of urban area motorcycle ban program through news
media outlets after the hearings. In February and March 2004 the public security police detachment
also commissioned a social conditions and public opinion survey centre to interview 3,000
motorcycle owners, providing detailed information about the characteristics and opinions of
motorcycle users and their service conditions. This kind of input helped to provide a more scientific
basis for adjustment of the motorcycle ban program.

The motorcycle ban was implemented gradually, separated into three stages over many years,
giving the public enough time to adapt. The first phase was to only restrict motorcycles from
operating on some roads in the urban area, while allowing motorcycles to run on these roads during
the morning and evening peak periods, and at the same time leaving one east‐west and one northsouth
trunk road open without restrictions. The citywide, full time motorcycle ban was not carried
out until the final third stage.


Supporting measures

Several supporting policy measures were required to ensure the successful implementation of the
citywide motorcycle ban.


Public transport

It was necessary to improve public transport, by ensuring adequate capacity to accommodate the
modal shift from motorcycles to buses, and by providing feeder route or other minibus coverage to
ensure access along narrow shared streets to bus stops and metro stations; areas previously served
by motorcycle taxis.

In practice, these measures were not taken in time for the citywide motorcycle ban. More than 50
short routes accessing narrow streets around bus stops and metro stations were added to the bus
route network, but not until a year after the citywide motorcycle ban came into effect. The result
was that since the ban, a variety of minibus paratransit services and cycle rickshaws have sprung up
to serve the unmet demand (see photos below).


Compensation for motorcycle scrapping

The “Guangzhou City Compensation Incentive Plan for Motorcycles Scrapped or Moved Out of
Urban Areas," required payment of compensation for each motorcycle which was scrapped. By May
2006 more than 5,000 motorcycles had already been scrapped, and the total compensation paid
exceeded 6.27 million yuan (US$920,000); around US$180 per motorcycle.

Compensation was calculated according to whether the motorcycle was used for less than 10 years,
or between 10 and 13 years. (For motorcycles older than 13 years, no compensation was paid.)
For motorcycles used for less than 10 years the compensation was calculated according to the cost
when it was brought(according to the receipt) minus the average depreciation over a ten year (120
month) period. For example, consider a motorcycle registered on 15 Oct 1997, costing 15,000 yuan,
and being scrapped in June 2006. The compensation is 15,000 yuan ‐ [104 months × (15000 yuan ÷
120 month)] = 2,000 yuan. If the owner delayed until December 2006, the compensation will be
RMB 1,260. If calculation of compensation resulted in a figure of less than 1,260 yuan, this amount
(1,260 yuan) was paid regardless, as a minimum. For motorcycles that could still be used, where
owners wanted to transfer it to suburban rather than urban use, a compensation payment of 800
yuan per vehicle was provided.

For motorcycles already used for more than 10 years but less than 13 years, if after a check they are
found to be still in proper condition, then the ‘reward’ for scrapping is 35 yuan per month less than
13 years. For example, if a motorcycle was registered on 15 Oct. 1995 and was to be scrapped in
June 2006, then the reward for scrapping it would be 980 yuan (35 yuan x 28 months). If the owner
delayed scrapping until December 2006, the reward would be 770 yuan (35 yuan x 22 months).
This arrangement provided an incentive for owners to scrap motorcycles sooner rather than later.


Employment support for displaced motorcycle drivers

Several special labor fairs were held to provide support to people previously employed as
motorcycle taxi drivers or elsewhere in the motorcycle sector to find new jobs.


Special enforcement measures

Joint arrangements between the Public Security Bureau police, urban management officials, district
public security officials and other departments focused special enforcement measures in locations
where motorcycle‐related problems were prominent. In these motorcycle gathering places,
‘collective combat’ operations were mounted, including the use of plain‐clothes as well as
uniformed policemen and officials, mobile equipment inventory, ‘ambushes’, and other methods to
seize illegal vehicles (see photo).

To address motorcycles on the road, a variety of enforcement measures were taken including
setting up checkpoints to investigate, inspect and punish infringing motorcyclists. Illegal
motorcycles which attempted to escape or refused to accept inspection invited chasing and
interception measures, and so on. Strict punishments were applied for various types of traffic
offences, especially when committed by motorcycles.

 

Recently, the same city had inaugurated it's BRT, which is said to carry the 2nd highest number of passengers for any BRT in the world. See related post here.

Comments

Vasanth's picture

This is debatable....

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 I think this is debatable. All the car owners think the bikers as the offenders, whereas bikers think that because of so many cars. Think of Bangalore 10 years or before. I agree that population density was less. But, still places were easily commutable. Now, with increased purchasing power due to high paying jobs, car population is growing faster than the city population.

I still drive 2 wheeler and it is so comfortable especially for nearby places and in highly crowded places. Going to a shop on Avenue road or Balepet or Chickpet is only possible by 2 wheelers or rickshaws. If you see cars in DVG road, they will be occupying both the direction lanes and nobody questions them.

Bangalore roads as well as houses were designed for 2 wheelers on which cars are being run and hence we have so much of congestion and parking problems.

 I feel risky driving 2 wheeler due to reckless car drivers who may rub my shoulders. Running cost, maintenance cost is dam cheaper. We should consider the other part of the society too who cannot afford to have cars due to lack of parking space at home.Congestion level will increase further if any such action is taken. 

In terms of burning fossil fuel also, bikes are lot less compared to cars with average of 45-50 kpl  with good bikes giving as high as 65-70kpl compared to car which best of the best cars can give hardly 18-19.

Why not congestion charges to everyone on important roads. No one wants to take the call since they want to drive on these roads and cannot take public transport.

Why not everyone give up petrol and diesel cars and take up electric cars? Why not people give up their SUVs and Large cars and take up small cars? Nobody rings the bell of the richer class of people.

Naveen's picture

Motorcycle ban - Reasons

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Vasanth,

See the reasons cited below for developing the ban on motorcycles for Guangzhou (quoted from the report). Unless some study is conducted, we cannot conclude if the large presence of two-wheelers in bangalore are beneficial or not. This report was posted only as an example about how such changes can be brought about, if there is a will. I had visited Guangzhou in 1997, 2004 & 2009 & it certainly has improved greatly from what was a chaotic city, much like ours is now - the shift from 2-wheelers to public transport (viz. Metro, Bus & now BRT) has been highly successful.

 

Faced with very rapid increases in the motorcycle vehicle fleet, the city perceived a number of problems associated with motorcycles.

Noise pollution: noise monitoring found that noise could run up to as high as 80.4 db when a motorcycle passed, and as high as 90 to 100 decibels when the motorcycle was started. This was 31 db higher than a car. This far exceeded the state’s regional environmental noise standards of 55 decibels, and the road traffic environment noise standards of 70 decibels.

Air pollution: According to a survey of the city environmental protection department, each new motorcycle discharged 0.1%~0.2% carbon monoxide and 100~2100 parts per million hydrocarbon when it was idling. Investigation showed that motorcycles accounted for 15.2% of carbon monoxide air pollution, and as high as 30.4% of hydrocarbon pollutants, more than the sum of goods vehicles and buses.

Traffic crashes and fatalities: motorcycles had become the number one killers in accidents in Guangzhou. In the first half of 2003 there were a total of 3,044 motorcycle crashes in the city, with 363 people killed, an average of 2 deaths per day. The number of deaths involving motorcycles accounted for 43.61% of all traffic deaths.

Illegal motorcycle taxi operation: restrictions on motorcycle taxis were repeatedly unable to be implemented, which not only disrupted the regular passenger transport (taking demand away from buses and regular taxis), but also raised many potential safety and security problems.

Impact on traffic order: Motorcycle running order was perceived by the traffic police as chaotic, with traffic infringements becoming more frequent and serious. These included lack of registration and documents, driving without a license, not wearing safety helmets, and so on. This was perceived by the traffic police as having a negative impact on the ‘normal traffic order’.

Impact on the image of Guangzhou: There was a perception amongst policy‐makers that cities with more intensive use of motorcycles were less modern. Hence there was a perception that motorcycles were adversely affecting the image of Guangzhou as an international metropolis.

Theft and security: According to official statistics, from January to October 2003, 9,320 motorcycle snatch thefts happened in the city, accounting for 47.1% of the total number of snatch cases. This amounts to 31 cases of snatch thefts per day. (A motorcycle snatch theft typically involves a motorcycle approaching a pedestrian from behind or from the side, with a pillion passenger grabbing a bag or handheld valuables before the motorcycle accelerates away).


Reasons for banning motorcycles that were not commonly cited:
One of the major negative impacts of motorcycles, which interestingly was not cited as one of the justifications behind the ban on motorcycles, was the impact they had in the narrow confines of Guangzhou’s extensive narrow alleyways. Bulky, noisy, aggressive and often polluting motorcycles made these already‐congested alleyways unpleasant and unsafe.


Motorcycles in the many hundreds of kilometers of narrow alleyways throughout Guangzhou had a major detrimental impact on the quality of the pedestrian environment, with their noise, speed, space requirements, emissions, and security threats. These pedestrian environments are also vital public spaces of the city. This negative impact is difficult to quantify, but the improvement in walking conditions throughout the city after the motorcycle ban were so great that this pedestrian space improvement is probably the main benefit of the policy.

In addition, motorcycle taxis tended to congregate at bus stops and metro station exits, acting as feeders for the public transport system (see photos). This provided a useful service, but with strong negative side‐effects on the pedestrian environment. The motorcycle taxi drivers tended to park and to drive on walkways, in areas around bus stops that were already often congested with pedestrians, vendors, people waiting for buses, and so on.

the.thinker's picture

The repercussions will be huge in Bangalore

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 Banning Motorcylces in Bangalore would be huge. Motorcylce adoption by the public is quite high in Bangalore unlike many other bigger cities in the world.  There will be huge amount of protests. Once the city roads become smoother to drive on, and the average speed picks up, riding 2 wheelers will become unsafe and that is the greatest deterrent for anyone. In Europe, I see 2 wheelers in some cities, but they are so few in number.  Also, I think banning them altogether is not a great idea for the environment unless there is a fantastic seamless public transport to go from anywhere to anywhere like maybe London or Hong Kong Metro systems.  

vikram.kulkarni.v's picture

Disagree.

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Naveen, although banning motorcycles throughout Bangalore or in certain areas of Bangalore would be a quick-fix, it is definitely not a solution. Rather than discussing the pros and cons of the idea, I would like to look at this differently:

If I want to ride a bike, or a small car, or a big car anywhere in the city, why should I be stopped? Why should my freedom be restricted because of my choice of vehicle? 

Bikes becoming a nuisance on the streets is not a problem, but a syptom of a larger problem in the system as a whole.

Why do we see so many bikers riding carelessly, jumping signals, speeding, weaving through traffic, and getting on everyone's nerves? Because we let them do it. Because the police lets them do it. And they get away with it. They cross the white line in a two way street signal, and block oncoming traffic, and we see a policeman standing guard trying in vain to push them back into their lanes. Why do they do it? Because they can, and we let them, and we let them get away with it.

If proper enforcement is in place, where atleast 10% of the offenders are caught, penalized, have licences revoked, vehicles seized, etc., then within weeks you will see people behaving better on the roads.

On this note, I'm glad that Praja is in talks with the ACP of Traffic for an enforcement day.

Naveen's picture

Enforcement has limits

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If I want to ride a bike, or a small car, or a big car anywhere in the city, why should I be stopped? Why should my freedom be restricted because of my choice of vehicle? 

Though in India such a suggestion might seem to harshly curtail one's freedom (since we have gotten used to practicisng whatever we wish & whenever we feel like it without caring much for other users), unfortunately, this choice of widespread use of individual low-cost motor-bikes & autos leaves all other commuters at a disadvantage, particularly the public transport users & bicycle users, who pollute the least & do not obstruct others on the streets as much.

Cars are more polluting if they carry single riders, but they are safer & do not obstruct or pose as much risk on the streets as do mobikes & autos. Thus, public transport can operate well on roads even with cars operating on the same streets, but if there are highly manoeverable vehicles such as mobikes & autos, the performance of public transport deteriorates much more severely. This is one of the main reasons why such modes of transport have been discouraged in most cities abroad, but our authorities are yet to understand this aspect, let alone take any action.

Why do we see so many bikers riding carelessly, jumping signals, speeding, weaving through traffic, and getting on everyone's nerves? Because we let them do it. Because the police lets them do it. And they get away with it. They cross the white line in a two way street signal, and block oncoming traffic, and we see a policeman standing guard trying in vain to push them back into their lanes. Why do they do it? Because they can, and we let them, and we let them get away with it.

If proper enforcement is in place, where atleast 10% of the offenders are caught, penalized, have licences revoked, vehicles seized, etc., then within weeks you will see people behaving better on the roads.

Though this may be partly true, there is more to this than just "letting them do it". For example, can anyone confine millions of tiny, small insects within a small portion on a plot of land ? Or can one confine millions of tiny fish to one small portion of a pool ? Enforcement of dicipline with highly manoeverable vehicles on streets is far more difficult than to streamline conventional four-wheeler traffic.

When we have some 1.7 million 2-wheelers on our roads, the only positive way the situation can be handled is to either create much more road space or cut down the number of 2-wheelers drastically & push people on to public transport. There are no options but to cut down the number of two-wheeler & three-wheeler traffic in the future, though presently, this might sound unrealistic or optimistic.

vikram.kulkarni.v's picture

Let me give you an example...

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Let me give you an example... I have lived in Dallas, Texas for the past two years, and you will not find a street anywhere where bikes or big cars or pickup trucks are banned. The bikers are disciplined. Your assumption that bikers cause nuisance need not hold true all the time. Again, I go back to the fact that people misbehave because we (and the system) give them a chance to do it. People in Texas are not particularly patriotic about their country, and don't necessarily care for other people on the road. They drive decently and follow all the rules because the penalties for not following are harsh (anywhere from $50 to $800). The fear of breaking the rule is what makes them organized. In Bangalore, in most places, I can normally drive at whatever speed I want, weave in and out, jump a few signals, talk on a cellphone, not wear a helmet, and get away with it. Even if I get caught, most times, I can probably get away with a Rs. 100 "gift" to the cop.

This is coming from my basic belief that the general public cannot be convinced to behave humanely. There need to be checks in place to make sure that they do, willingly or unwillingly.

Now, on the other hand, if there were cameras mounted everywhere, and the police stepped up enforcement, you'll see the difference. Let's say the police made the penalties stricter... You lose your cellphone if you're caught talking and driving, and you can only get it back after a week, or after you pay a Rs.500 or Rs.1000 fine at the local station; you pay Rs. 1000 for going on the wrong side of the road, or the wrong way in a one-way, and no exceptions are made, then you start to see the difference. Even if the corruption in the Police system cannot be eliminated, if you can step up the enforcement, then the effects will start to show.

As for enforcement, it is always possible to enforce the rules, irrespective of how many people there are on the road. It all boils down to what kind of technology and follow-up you're willing to employ. Enforcement is possible, just the way you can build roads that last for 5 years! As for where the money will come for such technology, the answer is there in one of the previous posts... start collecting hefty fines at street corners, and there'll be enough soon! There needs to be a tipping point, where the public in general starts to fear the violation penalty.

Naveen's picture

Again, Enforcement has limits

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I think the comparison of situations in Dallas & Bangalore is unrealistic. Comparisons can only be made between like & like. Dallas has much more street space & perhaps a few thousand motor bikes (no autos at all) whereas Bangalore (& most other Indian cities) have them numbering by the millions ! Dallas also has better public transport & the public has far better driving manners than in Indian cities.

Motorbikes are too large in number in Indian cities since people are not economically well off & public transport is abysmal. To tackle the situation in Indian cities (in fact, in most third world, developing country cities) is to improve public transport & shift people on to trains & buses instead of trying to keep the mobikes & autos on the streets & then take on the challenge & try to enforce regulations more strictly.

As I mentioned earlier, enforcement has limits - one cannot try to fit millions of two-wheelers into a city's roads & expect enforcement to solve all problems when road capacity is severely over stretched, many times over.

If fines are made very heavy &/or monitoring becomes excessive, it will lead to unrest since poorer sections of people cannot afford to pay such stiff penalties & also, they are not disciplined to follow rules implicitly as part of their culture. This will have ramifications on the city's economy, besides being impossible, if not very difficult to enforce, politically.

vikram.kulkarni.v's picture

Why are people in Dallas more disciplined?

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Dallas and Bangalore cannot be compared on all aspects, I agree, but there are definitely comparisons we can draw. I have two comments on your statement "Dallas also has better public transport & the public has far better driving manners than in Indian cities."
Firstly, Dallas' public transport is terrible. The buses and trains only connect some key areas, for everything else, you need a car. A trip that takes 15 min by car takes over 1 hour 30 min by public transport. The second part of your statement, about drivers being more disciplined, needs a deeper understanding. WHY are they more disciplined? WHY do they behave better than Indian bikers? Because the penalty for not driving courteously and in a more disciplined way are too high. People in Dallas are not better human beings.

I completely disagree with you that public transport in Bangalore is abysmal. In fact, I think that it's one of the smartest things that Karnataka's authorities have done for the state and the city. A look at the percentage of Bangaloreans that use public transport will give us a good idea. I'm definitely not against public transport. I strongly feel that the better the public transport, the better the city becomes. I'm merely suggesting that banning a class of vehicles from the roads will not solve a problem, but only cover up the symptoms and hide a larger set of underlying problems.

Your comment about people complaining about high fines is simply unjustified. It's as if a criminal complains that 15 years in prison for murder is too much! Unrest amongst public for such reasons simply cannot be tolerated. If we do tolerate it, then we're encouraging people to break the law. It is not in people's culture to follow rules partly because they are not trained sufficiently by the RTO, and the RTO doesn't filter out the indisciplined ones. But that's another discussion in itself.

My underlying idea is that people are driven by incentives (or motivation). What motivates some of us here is that we care enough to see Bangalore doing better than it is. Bikers and car drivers are motivated to use their own vehicles because of the convenience. As we see the public transportation getting better in the city, we see people switching to buses and trains. We're already starting to see that. In a similar way, you need to give people enough of an incentive to follow rules. If the penalties are high, then they're automatically incentivized to behave better. People in Dallas, and in most parts of USA behave well because if you get 5 tickets, you lose your licence (each ticket could easily cost you about $250), and after that, you've to go to a special driver training school, AND go through the whole process of getting a new licence. Not to mention the increased insurance costs, and a permanent black mark in your criminal records. The process is so tedious and expensive (and inconvenient), that people would rather spend more time on the road and behave better. Also, if you hit a pedestrian, you go to jail (no exception). I'll shortly be writing an article about a case study where a small and constrained police force (like in Bangalore) brought down crime levels drastically with a few simple measures. Hopefully we can learn some valuable lessons from the case. We don't need to catch every offender, just enough of them!

Naveen's picture

Many issues involved

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WHY are they more disciplined? WHY do they behave better than Indian bikers? Because the penalty for not driving courteously and in a more disciplined way are too high. People in Dallas are not better human beings.

It's not just fear of penalties that drive them to show better road manners. With 100% literacy, they understand that it's better for all to allow right of way on the streets, apart from understanding driving techinques & safety far better. In short, they are a far more civilized society than ours.

With almost 100% of the drivers in India being illiterates (barring a small minority that is educated), it is clearly expecting too much to make things work by fear of penalties alone. The educated lot of drivers, being vastly outnumbered on the streets, also tend to break rules since they would otherwise lose the battle amidst the chaos. Traffic cops cannot be stationed at every intersection all the time to catch violators - several such "drives" have been conducted, all leading to nowhere since to sustain such a high degree of supervision would require an extremely huge police force, which is not feasible.

I strongly feel that the better the public transport, the better the city becomes. I'm merely suggesting that banning a class of vehicles from the roads will not solve a problem, but only cover up the symptoms and hide a larger set of underlying problems.

These underlying problems that we have will take generations, if not eons to change - we are talking about a whole nation here, if not a city. This is why most other developing country cities have chosen to ban the more maoeverable vehicles from city streets since they, being more nimble, will end up squeezing past other vehicles & criss-crossing everywhere, endangering safety on the streets.

Unrest amongst public for such reasons simply cannot be tolerated. If we do tolerate it, then we're encouraging people to break the law.

True, but again, we are a "lame duck" democracy - & politicians have consistently yielded to people's demands, even when they break the law. Apart from traffic chaos, there is also the example of building violations, that are now being condoned in most cities, & such violations are being "regularized" as a norm.

Bikers and car drivers are motivated to use their own vehicles because of the convenience. As we see the public transportation getting better in the city, we see people switching to buses and trains. We're already starting to see that. In a similar way, you need to give people enough of an incentive to follow rules.

It is true that a section of citizens in bangalore have got exasparated with the chaotic traffic conditions & hence have shifted over to bus services since there isn't any other choice. The worldwide experience has been that even when public transport is good, people will still try to use their private vehicles due to much higher degree of convenience. Thus, there have to be sufficient deterrents pushed into place, such as high parking costs, expensive fuel, vehicle taxes, congestion or cordon pricing, longer travel time, etc. to get them on to public transport.

I'll shortly be writing an article about a case study where a small and constrained police force (like in Bangalore) brought down crime levels drastically with a few simple measures.

I look forward to reading this - but I think this is likely to have happened in a city or town outside India !

ashwin's picture

Operation successful, patient dead

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@Naveen

I don't know if you got all the way down till page 24 of the report, section on "Traffic and mode split impact ". I quote below (emphasis added by me)

"Traffic congestion, however, has significantly worsened since the motorcycle ban was implemented
though since car ownership was rapidly increasing regardless of the motorcycle ban, it is not 
possible to attribute the worsening congestion only to the motorcycle ban. Nearly one fifth of all 
motorcycle riders shifted to car use immediately after the motorcycle ban came into effect.
"

Is that really what we want ?

I am all for congestion charges being imposed on all private vehicles once the metro is up and running (the first phase completely, perhaps even after the second phase is done). But persecuting only bikes while giving a free pass to car owners smacks of the worst sort of class-based elitism, the kind that gets people to burn down buildings in central Bangkok. Let's not go down that path.

Naveen's picture

Patient Dead ? Not quite

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Ashwin - The report is intended to be read in whole & not selectively. Banning a mode of transport is never for single-valued outcomes. Though all benefits cannot be quantified with data, the positives included the following: Reduction of noise pollution, air pollution, traffic crashes & fatalities, illegal motorcycle operation, impact on traffic order, theft & security, pedestrian environment particularly in narrow alleys & at bus stops, city image, etc..

For Bangalore, I think one of the many benefits would be a marked reduction of chaos on all streets including main streets caused by them, improved road safety, reduction in the number of accidents, safer pedestrian movements, in addition to reduction of air & noise pollution.

Traffic will continue to increase on streets in any city when economic conditions improve. The challenge is to recognize the negatives to society as a whole during this growth phase & weed out those that have too many ill-effects to maintain & secure the well being of public. In this dilemma, unfortunately, some are bound to end up as losers, & many growing asian cities have recognized that excessive dependence on 2-wheelers, though a boon for many, have far too many disadvantages & the ill-effects outweigh the benefits to society.

Some more excerpts from the report are as follows :

Last para on Pg.25: Although nearly 20% of motorcycle riders shifted to cars, the same percentage shifted to bicycles (in capacity terms similar to motorcycles), and nearly 10% walked. Considered on a per passenger basis, a low occupancy bus may be less efficient than motorcycles in traffic flow, but the buses in Guangzhou already had very high occupancy levels, averaging more than 65 passengers per bus on major corridors even before the ban came into effect. On a per passenger basis, a bus with 70 to 80 passengers (average peak period bus occupancy on major roads in Guangzhou after the motorcycle ban came into full effect) uses less road space than a motorcycle with one to two passengers.

First para on Pg.6: Motorcycles in the many hundreds of kilometers of narrow alleyways throughout Guangzhou had a major detrimental impact on the quality of the pedestrian environment, with their noise, speed, space requirements, emissions, and security threats. These pedestrian environments are also vital public spaces of the city. This negative impact is difficult to quantify, but the improvement in walking conditions throughout the city after the motorcycle ban were so great that this pedestrian space improvement is probably the main benefit of the policy.

vikram.kulkarni.v's picture

Naveen, you have mentioned

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Naveen, you have mentioned more than once that bikes are being banned in more and more cities.. I have looked on the internet and have not been successful in finding other cities where such bans are in place. The only other place I read about was somewhere in Lebanon, where motorbikes were banned in the city to control crimes in the city that were committed by people on bikes!

Can you imagine the level of enforcement required to ban bikes from the road. Not to mention the logistics issue of holding and getting rid of thousands of bikes seized by the police, and the cases registered against them. AND the politics that will be involved by the lobbyists that lobby on behalf of the bike companies and their stakeholders. If the Bangalore Police and Politicians can find it in them to bring about the ban, then they can definitely enforce the rules that already exist, and bring about the change in nature that we've talked about.

Also, where does this end? First you ban bikes, then autos, and a good number of people switch to small cars, and they drive exactly the way they rode their bikes in the city, and then you ban those cars, and in the meantime the public transport cannot accommodate everyone in the city....

I apologize for not being able to respond in full to your last comment, but I'm on my way back to Dallas, and will need some time before we continue this discussion.

Naveen's picture

2 & 3-wheelers cause more chaos

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Vikram,

Try this - type "motorcycle ban in city" on google search & see what it throws up - even many US cities are considering banning motorcycles.

Though cities that have successfully banned motorcycles may be few in number, there have been many that have been pondering over it or have been considering it from a long time (not in India, of course).

Whilst in India we firmly insist & believe that being a democracy, we must have the choice of using them, & may feel that banning motorcycles might be a logistic nightmare & something unenforceable, this is not necessarily true abroad anywhere (even in democratic countries).

If traffic rules can be enforced better in India, a ban can also be similarly enforced. It's just that in our country, nothing seems possible - people get away with anything & everything & argue that they have the freedom since the country is democratic whilst the authorities accept such misuse of priviliges & are left helpless for fear of backlashes by the public.

4-wheeled cars & other vehicles are much less manoeverable & cannot cause the same degree of chaos as can 2-wheelers & 3-wheelers. In this respect, some sort of order can be maintained on the streets, which is atleast much better than what it is now.

I know how Guangzhou's traffic was in 1997 & how much better it is now after the ban - thus, we have at least one example of a city that has greatly improved & benefited after banning motorcycles.

thampan's picture

How many motorcycles were scrapped?

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Naveen,

Can you provide information on how many motorcycles were scrapped as part of this move ?

the article you posted says 5000 by 2006.

 Just want to understand the scale - how many 2 wheelers are present in bangalore and what will be the compensation required.

thampan's picture

Enforcement

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I agree to Vikram.

Our traffic fines were fixed ages ago. Even if you account just for inflation, it is high time that the fines got revised.

1) Multiply the fines by  a factor of 10

2) Enhance enforcement - give the cops a cut of the fines if needed ( incentive for them) (there are bound to be issues, but can be sorted out in one way or other)

Instil the fear of getting caught and you will have people following the rules. 

Naveen - it is not literacy which is the cause of not obeying rules, most people know the rules - it is just the convenience that you get when breaking them that induces most.

 

 

Naveen's picture

Bangalore has more than double

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Thampan,

On pg.3 of the report, the flwg is stated:  "By the early 2000s the estimated inventory of motorcycles in the Guangzhou urban area was 790,000. The number of motorcycles operating on roads was estimated to exceed 500,000, although there were only 260,000 motorcycles registered by the Guangzhou government. In 2003 motorcycles accounted for more than one quarter of non‐walking trips, second in importance only to buses".

Bangalore has more than twice this number & still growing!


On pg.22, the flwg are quoted as improvements :

The motorcycle ban was implemented with wide public support and cooperation, and is widely seen to have achieved a number of positive results:

Noise pollution, especially in narrow alleyways and at night, was greatly reduced, and significant reductions in carbon monoxide, particulates and nitrogen oxide emissions were reported.

Traffic crashes significantly declined in January to August 2007 (when there were no motorcycles) compared to the same period a year earlier. Crashes declined by 17.5%, deaths by 2.2%, injuries by 20.4%, and property losses by 42.3%.

In Guangzhou from January to August 2007 there were 52,141 criminal cases, a decline of 15.3% compared with the corresponding period a year earlier. Snatch theft cases declined by 44.3% over the same period.

The quality of the walking environment throughout the city has been greatly improved.


We could go on debating without end about possible ways to enforce discipline & if banning is really necessary or not, but my point is that 2-wheelers (& 3-wheelers) make conditions on roads far more risky for pedestrians & other traffic, & at some point, a decision will have to be taken if they are to remain on the roads or not. The only question is when ? Going by present indications, our authorities might never be able to tighten belts anytime soon !

Vasanth's picture

Chaos created by Cars not addressed.

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I drive both, so my comments are unbiased and at a neutral angle and openly.

 Many of the Bangalore streets,especially narrow streets were congested by cars. DVG road for example, is very easy to go in bike, park the bike. Road is more than sufficient for bikes and scooters. I agree people commenting on using the bicycles, but it is another discussion. Cars entering DVG road create total chaos. People stopping the car to get down will block the back traffic. Two small cars cannot negotiate with each other. 

Same is the case of avenue road, BVK Iyengar road, some gullies of chickpet, balepet, Shivajinagar.  Our one ways are due to increased number of cars on the road.

If Bangalore was full of freeways, and if economical situation of each and every person would have been good enough to run a car (since affording a car is no more a great deal since used cars are available as low as 10,000 rupees), but running cost of it should be atleast 30+ kpl to equate to that of bikes and maintenance cost should also be less.

Most of the people in Bangalore are from outside and they take a rented house. They usually get bike parking as part of their rented house and not car parking. In a situation like this, we will have cars being parked outside home, all over the narrow  gullies without allowing space to walk even.

Think of segregating and sorting out this mess by creating seperate bike lanes. It creates safety to two wheelers. Emission of four stroke bikes are far less than compared to Euro IV norm cars as per the figures seen on my car emission tests and bike and scooter emission tests. Fossil fuel burning is also way behind compared to cars with normal commuter bikes giving upto 65kpl compared to best of the best cars giving hardly 16-18 kpl. Best is to utilize public transport and office transport. This will not workout for nearby commutes and urgent commutes. Public transport being very expensive especially for the nearby places due to minimum fare of Rs.5 and Volvos being 10 make it highly uneconomical. Also crowded and unreliable especially during urgent work. 

Bikers doing the most of the violations is a thinking of a car driver, whereas car drivers also do same mistakes and their mistakes will be very costly even taking up the life. This is more during Friday nights due to jolly rides of car drivers after finishing their so called 'nightlife'. This jolly drive in bike is also present, but the damages done by car driver is of huge extent.

Car being less manuoevarable and ease to ride compared to bike, car drivers always think so.We have seen Indicas and Sumos being driven so rashly. Usually these people come from rural places having only bike driving experience.  They are the most dangerous on our roads.  Such people will increase with this move.

As a whole, I would say driving in India is fully chaotic due to the habits and lack of culture. Everyone thinks themselves as expert driver and highly cultured without seeing themselves in mirror. Public transport is the only right answer. Drive should be on reducing both cars and bikes on many main roads of the city,  and should not the in the form of lobbying one form of transport  especially involving the form of transport used by the upper class. Answer is the congestion pricing for which people have to start thinking more...

 

 

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