Written by Lee Norris
India is a class conscious society where most people equate prosperity with the automobile while the bicycle is considered transportation for the poor. Only around 7% of Indians own automobiles and there are roughly as many small motor cycles on India's roads as bicycles. There are a billion Indians and most of them want a car. The bigger the car is, the more status the owner has. On main thoroughfares like the Grand Trunk Highway, Indian motorist have been known to hit poor cyclists and pedestrians and leave them lying along the road without offering assistance. There are almost no bike lanes or bike paths in India and the roads are often muddy full of pot holes.
On the other hand, India is a paradoxical country and full of contradiction. Many tourist that go to India say that the bicycle is still the best way to travel around the small towns and the country side of India, because there are few cars on the road. You go from village to village and from out door stand to stand and hardly ever encounter a car. They say that bicycling in India can be likened to riding through a giant outdoor market.
In the cities, techies in well paying jobs cycle to work. Most of them speak English and want to be westernized. These techies are demanding bike lanes in in districts like Bangalore’s high tech district. Who says that the west doesn’t have a positive influence on India?