Chiang Mai plans to set up bicycle lanes

Chiang Mai plans to set up bicycle lanes

Chiang Mai sees salvation in opening up proper bike lanes amid worsening traffic and air pollution.

Montri Piyakul of the Provincial Tourism Office said that as Chiang Mai city attracted more tourists, roads became more congested.

Bicycle riding has emerged as a convenient and fast way of getting around. It also offers people better access to all the nooks and crannies of the ancient city.

Provincial Governor Suriya Prasatbuntitya has agencies studying suitable routes.

They have come up with three for a start. One runs through the crowded inner moat area. It would cost up to Bt5 million (S$20,135). One connects sightseeing spots like the Wiang Kum Kam archaeological site and Royal Park Ratchaphruek-Phra That Doi Kham Temple, estimated at Bt10 million.

And there would be a bike-pedalling park requiring up to Bt20 million.

Montri said a bike trail at the Chiang Mai International Convention and Exhibition Centre would definitely be included in the network.

The city is waiting for the Physical Education Department, which supports construction, to give the project its nod, which is expected to come before the end of the month.

It could be completed in seven or eight months, he said.

Khanong Srima, deputy chairman of the Chiang Mai Bicycle Network, said there were some bike routes around but they weren't safe or up to standard. They lacked distinct borderlines and warning signs.

He urged authorities to provide safe and modern bike lanes as well as to issue clear regulations to protect cyclists.

Boonchin Saomoon, president of the Chiang Mai Sunday Bicycle Club, said more people were interested in trying biking but were afraid of getting hit by cars or motorcycles, which they had to share the street with. If there were more bike lanes, Chiang Mai would be pleasant city to live in, with less air pollution and fewer traffic jams.

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