Why is Cycling Not Popular in India? (10 Reasons Explained)

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In countries like the United States of America (USA) and the United Kingdom (UK), bicycles are commonly used by everyone and are considered a sport for them as well. The question is “Why is cycling not popular in India?”

In this article, we will discuss 10 reasons why cycling is not popular in India. In foreign countries like the US and the UK, their governments support cyclists by providing separate cycling lanes and ensuring that they are safe.

But in India, cycling is not encouraged and people don’t think about cyclists on the road. And even the government does not do anything for cyclists in India.

There are so many reasons. Let’s discuss the reasons one by one.

Why is Cycling Not Popular in India [10 Reasons]

I have read many articles, did a kind of survey in a group of 1000 people, had a poll on social media and found the following reasons why cycling as a sport is not popular in India.

If you find some more reasons, please share your thoughts as well in the comment section. We will add that as well.

1. Lack of Safety on the Roads

Indian roads do not have separate lanes for cyclists, which results in more road accidents in India. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), accident rates are higher in developing countries and it has increased to 1.3% in India.

Most of the time two-wheeler riders, such as cyclists and motorcyclists, become victims of this. Most accidents occur when they don’t follow traffic rules. Here are some suggestions for bicycling on Indian roads.

Suggestion: The government should encourage cycling in India and should plan to make separate lanes for cyclists. They should not feel suffering while riding a bicycle or two-wheelers.

2. Dangerous Condition of Roads in India

Dangerous condition of Indian roads, This is one of the main reasons why cycling is not popular in India. Every person suffers from this problem whether it’s a pedestrian, cyclist, motorcyclist, or any public or private mode of transportation.

People don’t feel safe while riding bicycles on the road in India. They prefer buses and autorickshaws to travel. This is not in every state of India but most of the state’s problems with terrible roads are easily found.

3. High Pollution Levels

After Diwali, every winter Delhi people face a peak level of pollution. People think that they are smog but actually, they are a combination of smog and pollution.

Not only Delhi but many states of India suffer from bad air quality index. But India is a developing country and innovation is in work in progress to cope with the high pollution level.

Most beginner cyclists face this problem while cycling in India therefore they don’t ride on long routes.

High pollution levels in India discourage Indian people from making cycling a sport or hobby.

What can we do to reduce the pollution levels in India?

  • We should start riding bicycles to save our environment.
  • We can set a limit on our car rides and use public transport.
  • Don’t use plastic more or stop using it.
  • Stop smoking or forest firing.
  • Stop the use of the woodstove or burning plastic or other material.
  • Don’t firecrackers as it’s a big reason for high pollution in Delhi.
City Cyclists: Here’s How Much Pollution You’re Actually Inhaling (HBO)

4. The Government does not Encourage Cycling

Why is cycling not popular in India? The government does not think about cyclists in India like other countries do. Traffic rules are the same for cyclists but they are not favourable for cyclists.

Cycling is a sport in India, yet high-quality bicycles are not manufactured in India. Somewhere down the line, the government considers bicycling a hobby.

Neon stickers on the back of the cycles are the one that helps them to be seen at night or in the dark. If the government really thinks about the future of cycling in India they should come up with great planning for the innovation of cycling in India.

India is full of commuter bicycles, not performance bicycles because of high manufacturing costs. Even the parts are imported at a very high price. It is all because of the government. It protects the local brands.

5. Cycling is Banned on Various Roads

The government has banned cycles on various roads and highways to ensure the safety of the people. Safety is most important but the government can fix it by making separate lanes for cyclists, like in foreign countries.

Driving or riding in dangerous conditions on Indian roads is a common occurrence and this kind of behaviour is faced by cyclists in India. So there must be separate lanes for riders in India.

6. Bullying of Cyclists is Common

Why is Cycling Not Popular in India

People don’t care about bicyclists. This is one of the main reasons why cycling is not popular in India. On the huge traffic of Indian roads, most of the cyclists are bullied by many vehicles drivers like cars, trucks, buses or even motorbikes. 

We can say that Indian roads are monopolized by cars and buses. Everybody wants to invest in cars or bikes but few of them are cycle lovers. They do not listen to the cycle bell, which causes it to get late for cyclists.

7. Hit and Run Accidents are Common

It is also a very common problem for bicycle riders. Once accidents happen everybody thinks that it’s the cyclists’ fault.

Even after having experience of 4+ years in cycling, most of the time I have gotten into trouble because of it. They don’t even check whether cyclists have been wounded or not.

8. Bicycles are Expensive

There are a lot of cycles available but buying a perfect sports cycle costs a bit much. Cycles have many types. What kind of cycle you need depends on the purpose of the cycle.

Nowadays electric bikes are trending in India, I have seen many people riding e-bikes on Indian roads and one of them is Yulu Miracle. It’s an amazing concept that is encouraging more people to ride bicycles except for motor vehicles.

A great gear cycle price range starts from 10K to Lacks but your budget is very important. A normal cycle from the Hero brand costs only 4K-5K. Why premium bicycles are expensive?

9. The Chances of Being Stolen

In India, cycle parking spots are very few so they park their bicycles on the road, which increases the chances of stolen bicycles or bikes.

Cycles do not come with number plates so it’s easy to steal for the thieves. That’s why people don’t like to buy cycles in India and it is not popular in India.

I think this is not a reason because all types of vehicles are stolen. You should have bicycle insurance to compensate for your loss as the other motor vehicles have.

10. More Use of Spinning Bicycles

Why is Cycling Not Popular in India

In India, riding bicycles on the road has been decreasing because of more use of spinning bikes in the gym.

We can say it’s the general laziness of the people or they don’t want to explore the natural environment.

With the help of cycles, you should exercise for at least 15-30 minutes a day. Cycling is a great way to make your body fit and healthy. Even you can increase your height by cycling.

Why is Cycling Not Popular in Many Places?

After knowing the benefits of cycling, very few people ride bicycles because of the above-mentioned reasons. Because the mindset of people should be changed towards cycling in India.

Riding bicycles is completely carbon-free and contributes much to the environment but having a car has become a status symbol for many people. They love to use gasoline-fueled vehicles. Cycling must be preferable to the public and the Indian government should encourage this like the foreign govt.

Why is cycling not popular in many places? Another reason can be time-consuming for working professionals. People are job-driven and want to save time by travelling by car or metro but using cycles may not be useful for them.

Solution: Although they can't ride a bicycle to work, they can incorporate cycling into their daily routines as physical activity. Also, beginner cyclists don't know the good distance to ride bicycles in India.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. How to promote cycling in India?

The solution comes after the realisation of problems, so we have found the reasons why cycling is not popular in India (mentioned above), Now we have to find the solution. We need proper roads for cyclists (with cycling lanes), should have cycle parking, laws for the safety of cyclists etc.

Q2. Why is cycling considered a hobby in India?

Because cycling as a sport is not popular in India, most people ride bicycles for commuting and to maintain health. We have the Cycling Federation of India which is now promoting cycling as a sport in India. But people don’t take this sport seriously.

Q3. Is cycling in India safe?

Well, no one is safe on the roads, It’s up to us. We have to be alert while riding a bicycle/motorbike or driving a car. So, always follow the traffic rules, don’t overtake, don’t go fast, follow the golden rules of the roads and take precautions while riding a bicycle to stay safe.

The Bottom Line: Why is Cycling Not Popular in India

We have seen 10 major reasons for cycling not being popular in India but knowing the reasons is not enough. But you know the solution comes after the realisation of problems.

Cycling is not famous in many states of India because of so many reasons some of which are mentioned above. However, a few states, such as Maharashtra (Mumbai & Pune), Karnataka (Banglore), Chennai, Kolkata, Kerala, etc have a good number of professional cyclists.

The State Government of Karnataka did well for their future cyclists. Actually what I have realised during my research is that Indian people ride bicycles as a hobby or as a means of transport. But very few people opt for cycling as a sport because of awareness.

We have to participate collectively to make the people aware that cycling is a sport in India and the government should also take some actions for the same.

Please share this article as much as possible so that people realise and start riding bicycles.

I am the founder and editor of Cycling Guru India, a fitness freak and passionate cycling enthusiast from India. My passion for cycling led me to build the Cycling Guru blog site where I share my cycling experience, cycling tips & guides, and help people to get the best bicycle. Feel free to contact me on my social accounts or through the contact form. You can also follow me on Strava.

4 thoughts on “Why is Cycling Not Popular in India? (10 Reasons Explained)”

  1. You obviously have no clue about performance cycles if you are asking about why the cost of non Indian manufactured bicycles is high. In fact India has only expertise is commuter low end and entry level MTB and entry level E Bike manufacturing despite having decades of experience. In in some component such as tires for 700 c , 650 b anc MTB 26, 27.5, 29 inch tires the quality of some that are even attempted to be made here are pathetic- low TPI .Tubeless bicycle tires and Kits are not even manufactured on India . The govt ignorantly in order to protect a business lobby banned the import of bicycle. Tires . why ??? Moronic decision . NO manufacturer including Ralson are either interested or competent in manufacturing these as entire new plants have to be setup.
    Forget the road , at least make performance bikes accessible and affordable in India
    To encourage it as a sport. It is a multi billion dollar sport globally

    • Thanks Sneha for your valuable comment. You raised a very important point for this cause, I will definitely add this to my article in next update. Things are changing, it will take some time.


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