Climate Action

High School Student Takes Activism to the Bike Lanes in Mumbai

In 2012, Mumbai emitted 3.83 tons of carbon dioxide, about two times the national average. The city has also recently become notorious for bad traffic; following in the footsteps of India’s other big metropolitan centers like Delhi. Roads are chaotic with little reverence for traffic laws. Rudra Ramchandran, a high school student and environmental activist in Mumbai, is fighting for more accessible alternative transportation methods in his city. He is committed to lowering carbon emissions at home and contributing to a low-carbon global ideal. His goal: to implement a bike share system. He argues that the positive impacts of an effective bike share program go beyond lowering carbon emissions, but could also lower the amount of chaotic car traffic, lower family fuel budgets, increase exercise among Mumbai residents, and diversify touristic activities. In recent years, bike share programs have become increasingly popular. There are over 600 cities across the globe that have installed bike-sharing systems. The largest bike-share program is located in Wuhan, China, with around 90,000 accessible to its residents. New York City just implemented their “Citi Bike” program that has 6,000 bikes distributed throughout 350 docking stations around the city. 20,000 users signed up within the first three days of the program. In 2010, another young activist attempted to implement a bike share program, Cycle Chalao, in Mumbai but sadly had to disband the project in 2012. Their website cited their biggest impediment, “Bicycle sharing systems to be successful in India have to be fully sponsored by the public authorities wherein the private corporations shall act as contractors to provide construction, operations, and maintenance alone.” Rudra has taken up the fight again, advocating for a pilot program near his high school.