Bicycle share system: Put in safety infrastructure first


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?

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In 5 years time, people do not talk kangkung cheap, as BN has promise cheap cars with lower price by 30%. So cycle now, drive big cars in 5 years!

Ong Eu Soon

Bicycle sharing services are currently available in over 200 cities, including New York, Boston, Washington DC, Denver, Minneapolis, London, Paris, and Barcelona. More city programs are launching each year. In London, the 6000-bicycle Barclays Cycle Hire program has recorded 4.5 million trips in its first year of operation (and expanded to 8000 bicycles this spring). Washington DC’s original 400-bicycle program was so successful that it has now has 2000 bicycles and has expanded into neighboring counties to keep up with demand. The rapid adoption of bicycle sharing is the proof that bicycle share gets more people on bicycles and improves… Read more »

Ong Eu Soon

Contrary to general belief that the streets are unsafe for cycling, bicycle share gets more people on bicycles and improves safety for everyday riders. More bicycles on the road have created safer streets in communities around the world. The visibility and a growing volume in the number of cyclists on city streets create an opportunity to educate all users on how to safely share roadways. So let start occupy George Town and reclaim our streets by cycling with public bikes

Ong Eu Soon

When the world first think of bike sharing. The very first thing to overcome is road safety. We try to put up bike stations at the interval of 200m. The density is to allow you to travel in short distance. Don’t assume that we are as stupid as you. Your assumption is making an ass out of u and me.

Ong Eu Soon

Short distance cycling is not so unsafe. Public bicycle is for short distance traveling. Mostly for the places where buses do not pass by or less traffic areas. If you want to take risk to cycle around that is your choice. You should cycle to the nearby transit station or to your office or hawker stores nearby. That would not pose too much risks for you. Don’t try to imitate Lim Mah Hui who traveled long distance with his bike.


I really can’t understand why Ken still selling bicycles in the island since it is so dangerous to cycle. I really wonder why Ken want to operate a bike renting business when it is so dangerous to cycle in the island. I really don’t understand why Ken keep his mouth shut up for years about the safety aspect of cycling when he is in the business of bike rental. Ken is worry about his bicycle business if Public Bicycles are make available to the public at fiction of cost. That is the real reason why he is so panic and… Read more »


Ken is talking non-sense when he operate his bike for rent, did he ever ask about the safety issues? Did he ever lobby for safety issues? Did he ever make any effort to improve anything for his bike renting business. It is when he realise that his business is threatened by the new concept of bike renting, he is panic! Taipei forever will not be safe for cycling. Why the bicycle sharing is so popular in Taipei? Why safety was never a concern for Ken when he is the sole bike renting operator in the island?

Bayan Baru Ah Pek

Better be safe than sorry; and no blame game later.

too many impatient motor cyclists & cars on Penang congested road and better ride with precaution.

dont take risk !

Don Anamalai

Cycling alone is as risky as jogging alone, as in the case of unresolved rape/murder case of Chee Gaik Yap:

semuanya OK kot

Cars and 4WD can be unsafe too. People are getting shot, kidnaped and robbed in or near their vehicles.

Soo Huey

Anil, please pass this comment to Penang Forum core group too. I agree 100% with Ken. For your information, i believe this bike share proposal was initiated and lobbied by representatives from NGO. I was called for a meeting by Ir Lim Thean Heng together with Jonathan & Cr Michael Lim Mah Hui where a bike share concept with hubs throughout GT area and Komtar was proposed. My immediate reaction was that the basic infra is so poor and most people feedback that cycling is too dangerous, so money is better spent to plan, design and improve our street infra… Read more »

Lim Mah Hui

I wish YB Yap would get her facts right before jumping the gun to accuse me (the NGO representative) of not being down to earth. For the record, while I heartily support the bike-share system as I believe bicycling as one important component of a sustainable transport system (see my speech in full council meeting on OCt. 25, 2013, available on, I am not pushing for its full-speed implementation without deliberate consideration and planning. The meeting that YB Yap referred to where she was invited was not initiated by me or any NGO. Like her, I was invited to… Read more »

Ong Eu Soon

ha ha ha ha I am the one who lobbied for it. I am NGI (non governmental individual ) not representative from any NGOs.


What happened to your blog ( ?


You are right. Better city planning and infrastructure for everyone should be the priority. There is no point in having bikes to share when an old lady cannot walk to the market in a safe and comfortable manner. Speaking about P. Tikus, during the implementation of the one-way system, MPPP contractors demolished many existing sidewalks to make way for road widening and have yet to rebuild them. This poses a danger to pedestrians who have to walk on the road with cars travelling fast on a one-way road. Complaints have been lodged to the MPPP but no action has been… Read more »


Safety First. Don’t rush into it, Check on the unruly motorists and motor-cyclist first.

Island Joe

I 100% agree with Ken. Until the safety element is resolved, no one in their right mind would think about commuting to work in Penang. All the other aspects like saving money, beating traffic jams, where to shower, shared bikes vs own bikes, etc are secondary. Obviously YB Chow has never been riding on the roads to jump the gun and ask for a bike sharing proposal without thinking of what is required to get people to ditch their cars. Right now, the only day you’d dare ride on the roads is Sunday and only between 7am and 10am. Just… Read more »


Precisely how I feel. You know in Pg and many other parts of Malaysia you can get knocked down by motorcyclists even while walking on pedestrian walkways. A walkway that is built for pedestrians becomes a place to ride motorbikes, park cars, place goods etc (I will send in a photo of this). Even the trial bicycle lane set up in tg bungah has become a parking space for cars. And what do the authorities (both MPPP and police) do? They turn a blind eye. They are more interested in checking if you have parking coupons or if you have… Read more »