I am reproducing below a message from Ken Khor of Metro Bikes, calling on the Penang state government to prioritise public safety infrastructure for cyclists first before it moves on to the next stage.

YB Chow,

I was glad to meet with you at GTWHI today. Initially, we planned to pass over the Open Letter to you today but J suggested to have a separate dialogue session between you and the bike rent operators and heritage communities to address their concerns.

It came as a surprise – I thought today’s tender (for a bicycle share system) was a ‘Request For Proposal for Ideas’, but I was told that the project is going ‘live’ after April 2014.

Generally, we agree that this project brings good for tourism and the local community. But, our highlight to the government is to put public safety infrastructure as a priority rather than by-pass it to the next step and spend millions of ringgit building bicycle share systems.

Today, Mr Y highlighted that a Komtar bicycle share centre is desired to be built first as high priority. For your information, Metro Bike decided to close down its Komtar Walk centre after operating for years there due to the dangerous traffic situation: we have had several reported cases from tourists that they were nearly knocked down by motorised vehicles. Without a safe cycling environment, bicycle transport can hardly be used by public.

Again, many countries planned their safe bicycle lanes infrastructure before the bicycle-share systems were introduced in their cities i.e. Hangzhou, Shanghai and Kaoshiong.

In my opinion, it is not a political tug of war. As we are building the next generation transport infrastructure, we need to carefully plan and perform sufficient field research studies before project implementation. (Sorry, I really think that MPPP and Penang State traffic need to spend more effort and time in this area.) …

Lastly, we appreciate and hope the George Town heritage bike operators and the communities have a chance to express their views and provide input before the bicycle-share project goes ‘live’.

Thank you

Ken Khor
Metro Bike

What do you think? Are we putting the cart before the bicycle?