Bicycle lanes around Penang Island by 2020 – now this is welcome news. But why do we need to wait a decade to have bicycle lanes?
Why not a lot sooner? I would think that building a second bridge by 2013, a tunnel and highways and all that land reclamation within a few years are a lot more difficult than introducing bicycle lanes. It all boils down to political will and what are your priorities – private motor vehicles or sustainable transport?
Some time ago, during the BN administration, bicycle lanes were demarcated in town and on the approach roads to the Botanic Garden via Gottlieb Road. A consultant based in Seri studied the possible routes. I met him and he sounded enthusiastic. But there was no political will to promote their use and widen the scope of the routes. Instead the emphasis on private motor vehicles continued and the vision of bicycle lanes and routes was reduced to mere tokenism.
The clamour for bicycle lanes is growing louder. Some 3000 cyclists took part in the Campaign for a Cycle Lane 2011 at the Esplanade today.
Very timely too. We desperately need to shift away from private motor vehicle use.
What about bus lanes? When can we make a start there? And how can we promote wider use of buses? Subsidising bus fares and coming up with more affordable monthly season tickets, and making them easily available, would be a good start.
This report from theSun:
GEORGE TOWN (Sept 11, 2011): The Penang state government is considering a proposal to set up bicycle lanes around the island by 2020.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the state plans to construct the bicycle lane along the coast – from the Second Penang Bridge in Batu Maung to Teluk Bahang.
“However, this vision cannot materialise so soon as it is an uphill task,” he said, expressing hope that relevant organisations could come forward and help in brain-storming to come up with some ideas.
“We hope that by doing so, Penang can be propelled not only as a bicycle destination in Southeast Asia, but one in the Asian region as well,” he said in his speech at the flag off, of the Campaign for a Cycle Lane (third edition) 2011 at the Esplanade here this morning.
More than 3,000 cyclist braved the early morning showers, to cycle some 80km around the island in this event organised by the G Club Penang cyclists, the Rotary Club of Tanjong Bungah and funded by CIMB Foundation.
Some 40% of the participants were foreigners from neighbouring countries including Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and Cambodia. Lim, who also took part in the event by cycling half the distance, encouraged the public to participate in this healthy activity.
“Perhaps certain bodies can organise more bicycle tours to take in the natural beauty around the island,” he said.