Nepal Cycle Society awaits approval and implementation of new cycle law in LalitpurCity mayor assures that the law will be passed at any cost.
Nepal Cycle Society and cycle enthusiasts have expressed concern over the non-implementation of the draft of Lalitpur Cycle Act 2076. If passed, it would be the first time the country would have a law for cyclists.
The society, which worked as a consultant in the law drafting process, had submitted the draft of the Act to the Lalitpur Metropolitan City over two weeks ago. But the city’s law division has not taken any step to endorse the Act, said Ratna Shrestha, founder and president of the society.
“This Act was drafted for the safety of cyclists and to promote cycling in Nepal,” said Shrestha. “Mayor Chiri Babu Maharjan and his deputy Gita Satyal are positive about endorsing the Act, but many ward chairpersons are reluctant.”
Two-thirds of the elected members in Lalitpur municipal assembly are from the ruling Nepal Communist Party, which puts Mayor Maharjan’s party, Nepali Congress, in the minority. Out of 39 elected members, only 12 seats are owned by Congress.
When the Post contacted Mayor Maharjan on Tuesday, he had assured that the new cycle law will be passed at any cost.
“This is not a political agenda, it’s for the public and environment. I am sure there won’t be any obstruction in passing the draft into a law,” said Maharjan.
Inaugurating the country’s first official 4.7km cycle lane in Lalitpur in November last year, Mayor Maharjan had announced to introduce Nepal’s first Cycle Law 2076 to promote cycling as a safe mode of transport in the city.
The 11-page draft Act ensures the safety of cyclists and wheelchair riders. It also proposes fines for motorists who drive or park their vehicles on a cycle lane and a special provision of insurance for cargo cyclists.
Shree Gopal Maharjan, chairperson of Lalitpur Metropolitan City Ward No. 3, told the Post that the non-implementation of the proposed law was a cause for concern.
“The Department of Roads, Traffic Police and Department of Transport Management should coordinate with the city office. The Act should not just be nominal. But I am more concerned about the implementation and effectiveness of it,” he said.
When the Post contacted Khagendra Prasad Wasthi, chief of the law division at the city office, he said they were consulting with stakeholders, such as Traffic Police, Roads Department and the Department of Transport Management, for their input for the implementation of the proposed law.
“The draft law will be deliberated by the city's legislative committee and taken before the municipal assembly for approval. Once the law has been approved it would be notified in the local gazette,” said Wasthi.
The municipal assembly meeting will be held within a month, Wasthi added.
Two months ago, Mayor Maharjan had vowed to ride a cycle to his office every day from his home in Bakhundole. He had also encouraged his staff to ride bicycles to work.
“This draft must be passed into law to make this city more environmentally-friendly and to have less traffic congestion. This drive is going to benefit everyone in the long run,” said Nivesh Dugar, an environmental engineer and an avid cyclist, who has played a vital role in making the new cycle draft for the city.
Krishna Shrestha, a Lalitpur based graphic designer and cyclist, said the cycle law is very important to safeguard cyclists and promote cycling in the city. “Cycles are very effective means of transport. They are one time investment and they don’t burn fuel. The draft should be passed, to encourage cycling culture which has both environmental and health benefits,” said Shrestha.
The Lalitpur Metropolitan City, which had invested Rs 5 million to build a cycle lane from Kupondole to Mangalbazar, has allocated another Rs5 million to extend the lane up to Godawari.