MALAYSIA - What kind of bicycle lanes should a Malaysian city build?
Should they encourage cycling just for fun and exercise? Or should they also aim to encourage cycling to become a form of alternative transport, at least for short distances, say from the home to the LRT/MRT station?
In fact, will bike lanes also encourage people to visit some packed shopping malls on weekends since cyclists will be able to bypass the huge traffic jams going into the car parks? Can they actually reduce traffic jams generally by encouraging more people to cycle to work?
One case study are the plans by the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) to build 56km of bike lanes.
Bike lanes can be built in unusual places, such as here in Section 5, PJ.
"The main objective is to join up the parks within PJ," said Suzana Othman, the town planning officer at MBPJ.
"At first, we thought of encouraging cyclists to commute to work, but then we wondered whether it would work with our hot weather. So we decided to focus on cycling for recreation first."
However, SK Yeong, who cycles to work everyday pointed out: "The temperature at 7am when we go to work is cool. And when I cycle home after work around 6pm, thousands of people are already out doing their evening exercise."
Another observer added that students are an excellent target group to use bike lanes as they lack other forms of transport (they are not old enough to drive or ride a motorbike). It would also free up parents from having to incessantly send and fetch their children.