Take the worry out of fuel prices

Photo: Mumit M/TBS


Photo: Mumit M/TBS

A cartoon Facebook post shows a father riding his son’s bicycle. The child sobs because he does not want to part with his two-wheeler. His mother consoles him by saying, “Don’t cry. Your dad will give you back your bike once the price of gas drops!

This little comic strip, a humorous version of record fuel price hikes, is becoming a reality as many people across the country are turning to bikes in hopes of easing the strain on their wallets.

Some have even chosen to exchange their motorcycles for bicycles!

Fuel oil prices in Bangladesh have risen 75% in two phases since November last year. As a result, transportation costs have risen dramatically, affecting people from all walks of life.

Amid these turbulent times, two-wheelers have come as a saving grace.

Cheaper, cleaner

Emran Hossain Tipu, a resident of Sarulia area in Demra, Dhaka, works at the Fulbaria branch of Uttara Bank.

He bought a motorbike to go to his office 11.5 kilometers from his home.

However, he was in trouble due to the sudden rise in fuel prices.

At first, he tried public transport modes, but his condition left him dismayed. The daily squabbles between passengers and bus drivers over extra fares, overcrowding and unbearable traffic jams, as well as illegal stops to pick up passengers, all led to him being late for work every day.

It was then that Emran turned to bicycles. For the past two weeks, he has been avoiding the daily hassles.

Photo: Mumit M/TBS


Photo: Mumit M/TBS

On a Facebook post in BD Cyclist, a popular Facebook group, he wrote, “It costs me 90 Tk to go to the office by bus. Then in those 10 days I would have spent 10 x 90 = 900 taka. Saved Tk 900 by using my bike Apart from saving money it also keeps the body healthy So if we try to ditch public transport and start using bikes it will make us saving money, will make us fit.

Apart from monetary and health gains, Emran says he also saves about half an hour on his travel time.

“You don’t have to get into traffic jams if you’re riding a bike. If you get stuck at a signal, you can walk through it. It took almost the same time as I was using my motorbike,” he wrote, adding there was no police harassment either.

Abir Hasan Simanto, a resident of the city’s Mirpur district, has a similar story. A software engineer by profession, Abir’s office is in Banani.

He also started commuting by bicycle to avoid public buses amid rising fuel prices.

He used to spend around Tk 100 a day on rickshaw and bus fees to get to the office, but now that cost is saved and he gets to work faster.

“Biking is good exercise too. I sleep better at night. I want more people to get interested in cycling on a regular basis. It’s the best form of transportation in this city. You won’t realize that until you start to use bicycles,” he said. wrote.

“One can start with a bicycle which costs between 10,000 and 12,000 TK. However, you should always be aware of the risk of theft as there is no bicycle parking anywhere.”

He however mentioned that Dhaka’s roads are quite risky for cycling as there are no separate cycle lanes while other vehicles often drive recklessly. He recommended always wearing a good helmet.

Simanto raised an important point regarding security.

A total of 10,504 road accidents occurred in Bangladesh between 2018 and 2020. Of these, 259 involved bicycles, according to the Accident Research Institute of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology. . Between 2019 and 2022, there have been 13 fatalities in Dhaka alone involving bicycles.

Freedom to ride

Sultana Lia from Narayanganj has been cycling regularly for three years. A trainer at Novera, a voluntary organization that helps girls cycle in the region, she said: “Cycling preserves personal freedom. On public transport, anyone can be the victim of harassment. But with bicycles, this problem does not exist. Cycling also makes people feel better through physical exercise.”

Photo: Mumit M/TBS


Photo: Mumit M/TBS

Arifur Rahman Khan, a familiar face in the BD Cyclist Facebook group and business executive by profession, has been cycling for nearly 16 years and swears by it.

As a student, he bought a bicycle to save time for going to school. Although he went through different stages of his career, he never left the bikes.

According to him, there is no better solution than the bicycle to solve physical, mental, financial and environmental problems.

“You never have to get stuck in a traffic jam with a bike. Cycling also keeps your heart healthy. It’s also cost effective,” Arifur Rahman told TBS.

On cycle recommendations, he said one should choose a bike based on their body size and shape. “If you don’t use the bike according to your body structure, after a long time, you may face various problems such as back pain and abdominal pain.”

Arifur also gave some tips to keep some things in mind when commuting to the office by bike. “You should hit the road a little earlier than usual and wear a cycling jersey. You should also rest for a while in an open area to avoid excessive sweating.

“Keeping a few clothes in a locker in the office could be a good option. If not, you have to take the clothes with you. he added.

Apart from all this, there are also the economic characteristics of the bikes for the country itself.

According to Eurostat data, Bangladesh is currently the 3rd largest exporter to the European Union and the 8th largest exporter in the world. Some 80% of exports go to the 27 EU countries.

For now, crippling traffic jams, the desire for a healthier lifestyle, and even the proliferation of numerous delivery services have all led people to see bicycles as the best and most affordable solution. The record fuel price hike may just be the final boost.