Monday 01/03/2021 — Cycling Safety
Last night I joined the Clubhouse session to listen to an online discussion to make Selangor/KL a safe place to ride bicycles. About two months, cyclists had been a bad name due to some rascals who made a fool of themselves cycling on our city highways. Most likely, they were newbies to show off their riding skills on the road that may endanger other road users. It was a good discussion among seasoned and experienced cyclists.
As a ride leader in Putrajaya Cycling Club(PCC) since 2014, rider safety is my top priority when I take my tribe on a cycling trip or event in Putrajaya. No matter how well we comply with the rules of cycling, we must be prepared for any mishaps or accidents. Helmets are compulsory! Before I start my ride, I will brief on the trails and their conditions so that my fellow riders are prepared for them. If not, they can back off. At the same time, I tell them their bicycle A,B,C- Air(tyre pressure, Brakes and Chains. The bicycles must be properly tightened and fit for the road.
I have seen my friends have accidents and I also had my own share of bad accidents on and off-road. The first one was when I rode in MTB in a group ride on the public road.
I waved to someone riding in the opposite direction. I lost my balance and hit another bicycle. I fell, hurt and cut my elbow and also got a red-black bottom! My second bicycle accident was at Taman Cabaran in Putrajaya. I was riding with my son Maher on a single track. Due to some obstacle, I stopped my bicycle. When I was about to restart my cycling, I felt someone was pushing my bicycle. The bicycle moved forward by itself. I lost control and my face hit the track. I swallowed some sand! I went home with a few stretches on my cheek and vowed never to ride at Taman Cabaran again. From my four times of cycling here, I recommend that anyone older than 50 years should not come here to ride. To ride here, you need the skills, the right bicycles, strength and courage.
The third accident was at Taman Botani, Putrajaya. It happened in 2017 and I lost two teeth, damaged my gum and a 7cm cut on my cheek which required stitches and lost a lot of blood. It was very scary when I was speeding downhill and hit a recently built bump that flew into thin air and fell flat on the tarmac road at the gate of Moroccan Pavilion. Thank God, I have no scars to show to anyone.
No one can guarantee the safety of cycling on the road. Cycling safety is a work in progress. Holland is a great example. It took the money, effort, time and a change of attitude. From my experience, bicycles need a separate lane away from vehicular traffic. That is a good start. A one-metre blue lane painted on the road is not a cycling lane. Go to KL and see for yourself what DBKL and Cyberjaya have done! Public education on cycling is a continuous process and it takes real effort and time. Amsterdam has not become a great cycling city in ten years. The change began in late ’70. And that is more than 40 years ago. What I saw happening in Amsterdam now is the outcome of decades of upgrading of cycling infra-structure, change in behaviours, enforcement of good legislation and policies,
About ten years ago, I got involved with Perbadanan Putrajaya to promote cycling in Putrajaya. Now , more and more people are coming to ride in Putrajaya. However, most activities are for sports and leisure. Only a few souls ride to work in Putrajaya. The current bicycle lanes in Putrajaya are not designed for commuting. Sadly, there were no efforts yet to upgrade the cycling network in Putrajaya for commuting. May I suggest Perbadanan Putrajaya be given the funds to re-plan and re-engineer the cycling network for Putrajaya.