Bicycle lanes in Penang seen as a flop

PHOTO: The Star

GEORGE TOWN - A state MCA Youth leader hit out at the state government for its poor planning of bicycle lanes.

Tanjung MCA Youth chief Lim Swee Bok said creating bicycles lanes without detailed planning was a total waste of money and put cyclists and pedestrians at risk.

"The state government should build bicycle lanes only after releasing the Penang Structure Plan and Local Plan to ensure public safety," he said.

Speaking at a press conference at a hotel here during a tour of the bicycle lanes near Komtar yesterday, Lim said it was risky for cyclists to have to share bicycle lanes with pedestrians.

"This is because the lanes are not wide enough for both groups to use at the same time," he added.

Komtar MCA Task Force head Tan Hing Teik said the state spent RM30m (S$10 million) to build casually painted bicycle lanes on the narrow streets of George Town. "

The state must accept the fact that the present road design and urban planning in Penang are meant for cars and unfriendly for bicycles," he said.

Penang Island City councillor Ong Ah Teong said in a statement here yesterday that in George Town, it was difficult to introduce a complete network of bike lanes without sharing paths with other road users.

He said that since the introduction of this road sharing concept, the number of cyclists had tripled.

He said the council and the state government would continuously improve the lanes as the move was still in its trial period and constructive feedback was always welcome.

Ong added that the shared path from Tanjung Tokong to the Penang International Airport and the Sultan Abdul Mu'adzam Shah Bridge would be completed in 2018.

"We are aware that the pavement is narrow but we went ahead after consulting stakeholders as alternative roads would create more problems," he said.