cycling in bangladesh

If you have been following my blog for a while, or if you’ve coincidentally read some of my earlier posts, you must have noticed how I got excited about learning a bicycle ride and hitting the road with BDCyclists group. Well, I was actually never able to hit the road with the group as my learning phase didn’t complete. The training session was halted, and hasn’t been resumed yet, due to dense fog in the morning. But that’s not what caused my cycling passion to come to a standstill.

I arranged some money, about 8 thousand taka ($100) to get my hands on a shiny new bicycle. I knew, I wouldn’t get that much of a good bicycle. But I’d still be able to manage a branded single gear beginner’s bike. It went all okay until it came down to my family. They wouldn’t approve me to ride a bicycle in today’s risky road. I remember when I used to be in high school, I wanted a bicycle so badly. But my parents never bought me one. They’d say, if we were in village, they’d buy me a bicycle. Since we were in city, it’s risky out there.

Fast forward to 2011, I’ve managed to get some way to earn the money I need as my pocket-money as well as Internet bill, mobile cost and so on. So, I was able to buy a bicycle by my own money, but I’m not buying because of family issue. They say, it’s risky out there.

But if you ask me, in Dhaka, it’s risky to even get out of your home (more on this later). Yesterday night, when coming back from WebExBD office, I saw two bus collision near my home. One was lying on the road upside down. And if you live in Bangladesh, you’ll see plenty of such accidental scenes on a daily basis in newspapers. Watch a few accident scenes caused by reckless driving (which is common among all public transportation drivers) in Dhaka:

So, that’s the everyday face of Dhaka. Of course, you don’t see such major accident on a daily basis, but accidents are common if you widen your range from just Dhaka to other parts of Dhaka, including highways to other districts.

Basically, what I’m trying to say here is you’re always at risk whenever you’re out of your home. Many people died in Bangladesh without even riding on any vehicle. They were just pedestrians got hit by uncontrolled vehicles. So, why would a bicycle, which I can control better than any other vehicle, be a risky way to roam with? I argued that you don’t see people getting killed when riding a bicycle. In fact, you can cycle at the far left side of the road (given that in Bangladesh you drive on the left side of the road) so you can be aware of speeding vehicles which usually stay in the middle or right side. Above all, if you can be conscious and careful enough, you an avoid 90% risk.

But who would listen to me? I received a forwarded link from my brother. That link was of news that a bicycle rider was hit by a speeding bus in Elephant Road (one of the busiest main roads in the city) and was killed on spot. Sighs.

On top of everything, you cannot avoid being killed even if you’re at your own home. Remember the disaster that was about to take life of everyone in our family? Take a look if you haven’t seen that. I want to say that if I am to die, I’ll die anyway. The best thing I can do is be careful, not to be crazy and always rely on the Almighty that he’ll keep me safe. What else can I do?

That’s why my will to roam the city streets with a bicycle in the early morning with BDCyclists group has been halted.

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26 thoughts

      1. Yes! But if u r riding a cycle on the road of dhaka i don’t think its safe unless you are on footpath 😛 . You can be sandwich between two buses or bus-cng, bus-car..!

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          1. No. I read your post but not very carefully. In your comment you did not mention it. so did not understand u told about far left of the road. I think its not always possible to stay left. You have to turn left or right. Sometimes you may even forget that you need to stay on the left for safety.

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  1. What about if you tell your parents that you’ll wear a helmet and stick to less trafficked roads?

    By the way $100?? That’s one expensive bike!

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    1. OOPS OOPS OOPS!!! This is why they should have the deleting option here :x!!! I thought you wrote $1000, even though I wrote $100. Gah matha noshto hoye geche :P! Sorry… that’s not expensive.

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  2. well its very difficult to persuade parents…
    and kids are called sticky!!
    but i guess continue the slow persuasion!!
    i had read somewhere persuading parents is like trying to remove cloth from a thorny bush..
    you cant leave the cloth there because you love the cloth but over trying might hurt you
    so be careful slow take time!!

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  3. While it might be dangerous ( and it is to be honest )

    The best thing you can do my friend is advise them of the health benefits , Taft you will be healthier , happier and Alice for longer if you use a bicycle :0)

    Good luck

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