Forum pays tribute to cyclist killed due to civic negligence

- ANUP OJHA, Kathmandu

Nov 4, 2018-

 A group of cyclists and activists promoting cycling for clean energy in Nepal on Saturday set up ghost bike (also referred as a white cycle) in memory of Shyam Shrestha, 37, who died after his cycle fell into an open drain in Kirtipur on October 27.

Ghost bikes are usually junk bicycles painted white and kept attached with a placard at the accident site where the cyclist dies. This concept originated from Amsterdam in 1960.

The drain was left open for the past six years by Kathmandu Uptyaka Khanipani Limited in Kirtipur.

Shrestha, a yoga teacher, motivational speaker and an avid cyclist had had a horrible death falling into the open drain, in front of Laboratory School’s gate, while returning from Chobhar on Friday evening.

“Shretha’s body is in the hospital for the last one week. The hospital has not yet delivered the post-mortem report. The government’s negligence has killed my only brother,” said Subhadra Shrestha, a condolence meeting held here.

“I have heard the government plans to compensate me. Money cannot bring back my brother. The culprit must be punished. The government should fill up all the death traps so that no one has to die in this horrible way.”

Shyam had been lived a decent life for over the past one decade. Family sources said he had visited many places of the country on his bicycle. “I had never thought that he will have to die this way,” said Subhadra.

Lawyer Sunil Ranjan Singh, a Kirtipur resident, has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the family of the deceased. He said he would fight the case until Shyam’s family gets justice.

Speaking to the media at the site of incident, Singh said, all three levels of governments - local, provincial and central - are responsible for the death of Shyam.“Two months ago I had also fallen in a pit and injured badly. The roads in our metropolis are a death trap, we will fight for the right of people to live safely,” Singh said.

The Metropolitan Traffic Police Division said it receives over three dozen complaints of minor accidents caused by potholes on the roads.The condition of roads in the Capital city of Nepal is deplorable. There are numerous potholes and drains along the sides of the roads are open at many places. These are a death trap for cyclists, scooters and motorcycle riders and pedestrians particularly at night.

“The government should not talk about smart city. Before dreaming big, it should make it a city where comm0n people can live safely and breathe clean air,” said Kanak Mani Dixit, a senior journalist who attended the condolence meeting.

Civil society groups and people involved in promoting clean city and green environment attended the condolence meeting. Representatives from Cycle City Network Nepal, Nepal Cycle Society, Critical Mass Kathmandu, NCRR Nepal Cyclists Ride to Rescue and Digo Bikas Institute attended the event.

Nepal Cycle Society President Ratna Shrestha, one of the organisers of the condolence meeting said, a Ghost Bike is kept at the site as tribute to the veteran cyclist, and to remind people how unsafe are our city roads.

“I knew him (Shyam) well. He used to make many cycle tours, because of the government’s negligence; we have lost a good friend. Roads belong to all citizens. They should be safe for pedestrians, cyclists or anyone who uses them,” said Shrestha.

Published: 04-11-2018 07:13

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