The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) along with All India Cycle Manufacturers Association (AICMA) carried out a study on ‘Benefits of Cycling in India’. Their latest report makes an in-depth assessment of the economic, environment and social advantages and brings out the merits of increased cycling activity in India.   

Intent of the Report:

Bicycles in India play a major role in enabling livelihoods of the urban poor by providing a cost-effective transport option. Out of the total population, about 81 million or 25% of the urban poor live in cities. For these low-income groups, cycling has become a way of life as they can’t afford expensive private and public transport systems. More recently, health and environmental quality have emerged as the new drivers of supporting cycling activity in the country, but growth due to these drivers has been constrained by the unfriendly cycling environment and lack of infrastructure in our cities. However, cities in India have mixed land-use patterns, which means relatively short commuting distances – 60% of trip lengths in Indian cities are of less than 5 km and 80% of less than 10 km. These are the ideal trip lengths for cycling and provide an extremely effective option for India to move to a mobility mode with zero emissions. Therefore, to enhance the share of cycling, it is important to highlight the practical gains one can achieve by focusing on infrastructure needs, framing cycling laws and policies, encouraging ridership increase, amend tax laws and create an environment of innovation and motivation. These measures should be accompanied with restrictions and regulations in use of private motorized transport, offer incentives to manufacturers and sellers and setting up of micro-financing options for the cycling fraternity.

Report Highlights:

Facts and current scenario in India:

  • In the last decade, the number of total registered motor vehicles in India has grown at a CAGR of 9.9%, from 89 million vehicles in 2006 to 230 million in 2016.
  • In the last decade itself, fuel use in the transport sector has more than doubled from 40.29 million tons of oil equivalent (MTOE) in 2006 to 86.70 MTOE in 2016.
  • More than 50% of people in India use Non-Motorized transport such as Walking & Cycling to travel to work in which share of bicycle use is 19%.
  • 14 Indian cities feature in the list of Top 20 most polluted cities in the World (WHO, 2018)

Benefits of Cycling in India:

  • If bicycles substitute two wheelers and four wheelers for short distance trips, it can result in an annual benefit of INR 1.8 trillion, equivalent to 1.6% of India’s annual GDP for 2015-16.
  • India can make fuel savings worth 27 INR billions if half of its trips are done on a bicycle.
  • If fifty percent of trips happens on a bicycle, it can improve air quality with estimated savings of 241 INR billion.
  • If half of all trips under 8 kms are done through cycling, it can result in energy savings of 0.35 million tonnes.
  • A 50% substitution of work trips undertaken by cars & two-wheelers under the average distance of 8km can reduce annual CO2 emissions by 1 million tonnes.
  • Large-scale substitution of motorized private transport by cycling can reduce noise pollution, improve road safety & provide recreational value to users.
  • 75% of substitution of cycling trips can save an average of 26 man hours for an individual  in a year.


International Scenario:

  • The study undertaken by the European Cyclists’ Federation (Neun & Haubold, 2016) estimates that substituting 32% of the car trips in the European Union (EU-28) by bicycles could result in the annual fuel savings of €28 billion.
  • In UK, the ‘Cycle-To-Work’ scheme which was launched in 1999, for an average work trip of 7 km, has attracted over 1 million workers till 2018.
  • Cycling in the Netherlands has prevented 6,500 premature deaths annually & led to the total economic benefits of 19 Billion Euros per year as health savings.
  • In Barcelona, an increase of 72% work trips by cycling resulted in the average economic savings of 4.7 Million Euros per year over 2009-13.
  • According to a study conducted by C40 in Mexico, the substitution of car and taxi trips by a cycle-sharing initiative EcoBici -resulted in the annual health benefits of USD 26 million.


A detailed version of the TERI report can be downloaded from the below link –

Benefits of Cycling in India_2019

Below are the mailers I created for social media awareness campaign using this report.

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Author: Vijay Malhotra, Mumbai


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