Cycling in Kuala Lumpur

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Southwest Dedicated Bicycle Highway heading from Jalan Klang Lama. On the right side is the building of Mid Valley Komuter station.

Cycling in Kuala Lumpur (Malay: Menunggang basikal di bandaraya Kuala Lumpur) refers to the bicycle uses in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for touring, recreational, work and transportation purpose. It was first appeared on 1938 when there is a first road cycling race that has been introduced in Kuala Lumpur.[1][2] The introduction of the bicycle in Kuala Lumpur was later become one of the preferred transportation methods for students and mid-class citizens.[3][4] As Kuala Lumpur begin its rapid urbanization progress since 1960s, the usage of bicycle start to decline as people shifting their transportation method to driving.[5] However, the bicycle use in Kuala Lumpur has seen another rapid growth in recent years with increased interests from different class of citizens, especially since the launch of bike tourism in Kuala Lumpur on 2012.[6][7][8] Although Kuala Lumpur lacks many bicycle-friendly routes which is suitable for cyclists to cycle in the city in the past,[9][10][11] however, many proposals, improvements and construction of the bicycle infrastructure and introduction of urban bicycling program has been carried on in recent years, mainly under the proposal of Kuala Lumpur Structure Plan 2020[12] and cycling activism by Cycling Kuala Lumpur[13] in order to encourage citizens of Kuala Lumpur and tourists to cycle in the urban area.[14]

Background[edit]

The history of cycling in Kuala Lumpur dates back to 1938 when there were a few road racing events which were held in the city[1][2] and became one of the main transportation methods for mid-class citizens during the 1980s.[4] The first bicycle route in Malaysia is Wangsa Maju bike route which is located in the residential area of Wangsa Maju, which costs US$ 320,000 to build, officially opened in 1997 to public while at the same time the mayor of Kuala Lumpur, Tan Sri Dato’ Kamaruzzaman Shariff announced that another US$1.6 million will be allocated for future bike route by encouraging developers of real estate to include bike routes in their residential area.[15] Despite its effort to encourage people to cycle in Kuala Lumpur, many people still prefer to choose driving as their main mode of commuting to Kuala Lumpur at that time due to the urbanization of Kuala Lumpur since 1960s and introduction of automotive industry in Malaysia, particularly the debut of PROTON in 1983.[5][9][10]

However, in 2012, Jeffrey Lim, the leader of the cycling activism for Cycling Kuala Lumpur, had an idea of creating a Kuala Lumpur map which is specialized for cyclists to cycle in the city using the possible and suitable routes. The development of the map involving more than 50 volunteers who seeking for suitable routes for cyclist to ride bicycle, which will then marked to the blank map that are given by Lim. During the development of the map, the city still lacks many facilities for cyclists to cycle around the city such as bike routes, segregated bike routes and bicycle parking.[11] The first version of the map was completed in September 2014 and distributed through participating bicycle shops for free and released in English, Malay and Chinese language.[16] This mapping program has attracted the mayor of the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), Ahmad Phesal Talib, who's cycling is his interests, to participate in the introduction and improvements of urban cycling program.[5]

In 2013, Ahmad Phesal Talib announces that the city council has planned to upgrade the cycling infrastructures in Kuala Lumpur to promote healthy lifestyle among peoples in urban zone. This proposal was announced during the Earth Hour session at Kuala Lumpur in 2013. While the construction of the infrastructure must be located in the populated area, its infrastructure must also be connected with the nearby rapid transit system in the city such as RapidKL Rail. In addition to the improvements to the infrastructure, the city hall also announces the construction of the 10 km bicycle highway which is known as Southwest Dedicated Bicycle Highway, which connects from Merdeka Square to Mid Valley Megamall.[17] The 5.5 km Southwest Dedicated Bicycle Highway which costs RM 700,000 to construct, officially opened in April 2015.[18][19][20] Since 2017 less and less of the bicycle track is accessible due to construction works.

Aim[edit]

The aim for the bicycling movement in Kuala Lumpur is to promote travelling in Kuala Lumpur in an alternative way that are healthy, cheaper and reduce traffic congestion and pollution while cultivating the culture of cycling among Malaysian people, to par with existing cycling cultures in Copenhagen and in Stockholm.[19][21] In addition to the tourism, lifestyle and bicycle culture, the bicycle movement also aims to make Kuala Lumpur as a preferred international cycling destination to attract cyclists from Asian region to cycle in this region.[22]

Bicycle infrastructure[edit]

Bike route[edit]

Currently, only few dedicated bicycle routes exist in Kuala Lumpur. These are:

Name Location Year Notes References
Southwest Dedicated Bicycle Highway From Mid Valley Megamall to Merdeka Square 2015 The first bike route officially opened under the new Cycling Kuala Lumpur program. As of 2018 a big chunk of the bike track is no longer accessible due to construction works. [19]
Taman Tun Dr Ismail bike route Taman Tun Dr Ismail [23][24]
Wangsa Maju bike route Wangsa Maju 1997 The first bike route in Malaysia. [15]

Other routes for the upcoming bicycle highway / bicycle-friendly routes are confirmed in the blueprint are:

In addition to these blueprints, additional facilities will also be installed together with the existing bike route such as Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV), solar panel and revitalization of the landscape surrounding the bike route.[28] Furthermore, additional 4m of the space under elevated railway and monorail has been reserved for bike route purpose.[29] Due to some of the motorists start parking at bike route illegally since the opening of the Southwest Dedicated Bicycle Highway,[30] actions has been taken by the authorities to ensure that no motorists can park their car on the bike route by educating the motorists about rules of the bike route in addition to tow away the car that are parked on the bike lane.[31]

There are also some bike routes inside the park and hill area for recreational such as Bukit Kiara and FRIM which is popular for road cycling and mountain biking.[32][33][34]

Parking[edit]

Bicycle parking rack at RapidKL Sentul LRT Station

In most of the bus station and rapid transit station, bicycle parking facilities such as parking rack are provided for cyclists who are not able to carry the bicycle to the bus and train other than foldable bikes.[35] However, due to lack of awareness by commuters who know about the existence of parking facilities provided inside the building, some cyclists choose to park their bicycle near the objects where the cyclists are able to lock their bicycle such as water pipes if they think their bicycle are not very expensive.[36]

Now, over 42 station in Ampang/Sri Petaling Line and Kelana Jaya Line have “Bike N' Ride” service.[37]

Transporting bicycles[edit]

Bicycle can now be allowed to carry inside the bus and rapid transit. However, there are some restrictions applies regarding carrying the bike to rapid transit. Only foldable bikes are allowed to carry to the bus and rapid transit due to the size of bicycle that are easy to carry than other types of regular bikes and bikes are also prohibited to carry during peak hour.[38][39] The maximum people in a cycling group to carry and ride inside the public transportation vary by types of lines and transportation methods. In Ampang Line, maximum five cyclists are allowed to on board, while on Kelana Jaya Line maximum two cyclists are allowed to on-board and only one cyclist is allowed to on board in bus.[35]

Bicycling events[edit]

KL Car-Free Morning at Jalan Raja Laut.

In addition to the improvement of the infrastructure, there are notable bicycling events which are held annually or monthly in Kuala Lumpur.

Notes

Popularity and influences[edit]

Although cycling was used to be the norm transportation methods for mid-class citizen,[4] this however the popularity of cycling has gained momentum from various class of people in Kuala Lumpur due to the usual traffic congestion that often occurs in the city in addition to the increasing price of petroleum, while at the same time people agree that cycling can help them to explore additional places while exercising and easily meet people around.[14] The rising of the bicycling popularity has also benefited the bicycle shop business in Kuala Lumpur that once not being profitable in the past, but however being profitable for now due to the changes of their lifestyle.[42] The recent opening of the cycling cafe and bicycle-themed coffeehouse is also said to be influenced from bicycle culture in other countries where cyclists gathering at cafe for meetup and planning for next ride while at the same time it is designated for cycling community which is currently emerging.[43] It is also one of the preferred transportation methods for students to go to school from home.[3] Foldable bikes has become one of the popular bikes among the cycling community and its transportation methods in Kuala Lumpur due to its portability, environmental friendly transportation and ability to carry the bicycle to the rapid transit system,[44] with its sales of the foldable bikes roses to 35% between 2010 and 2011.[42] Brompton is among one of the most preferred foldable bikes brand widely chosen by the customers than any other brands.[45] The growth of the cycling in the region also creates another job opportunity in Kuala Lumpur with the introduction of bike messenger in 2015, which is known as Vélo Express KL, where they responsible for delivering the items through bicycles in the urban area.[46] The team’s aim is to give awareness that cycling can also be used as an alternative transportation to driving or public transportation despite still have lack of bicycle facilities, where one of the member claims that the statement of cycling in Kuala Lumpur is dangerous[9][10] is false.[47] Although bike messengers are still new to the city when compared to Indonesia where it already exists, it has already received many delivery requests from employees at office who do not plan to temporary leave the working place during the usual working hours. However, despite the growth of bicycle culture in the area, some of the building management still refused to allow bicycles to enter to their building as the security guard looked bicycle and cyclists around building as suspicious things due to the no bicycle policy that still implemented in some buildings today.[47]

References[edit]

Citation[edit]

  1. ^ a b "SHORT HISTORY OF BICYCLE RACING IN MALAYSIA". Malaysian National Cycling Federation. Retrieved 22 September 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Cycling: HISTORY". Commonwealth Games Federation. Retrieved 22 September 2015.
  3. ^ a b Jegathesan, M. A Decade on Cinders. Federal Publications, 1984, p. 8.
  4. ^ a b c Hilling, D. Transport and Developing Countries. Routledge, 1996, p. 206. ISBN 9781134777242
  5. ^ a b c "How a crowd-sourced map changed Kuala Lumpur's ideas about cycling". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
  6. ^ "Interest in cycling tourism increases". Wonderful Malaysia. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  7. ^ "OCBC Cycle Malaysia Info Booklet (Section "A Word from our partners" by Khairy Jamaluddin". OCBC. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  8. ^ "KL Mayor and Cycle Malaysia announce new route, join hands to raise funds for charity". Spectrum Worldwide. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  9. ^ a b c Mustoe, A. A Bike Ride: 12,000 miles around the world. Random House Publishing, 1992, p. 235. ISBN 9780753546727
  10. ^ a b c "Why cycling to work doesn't work here". Malaysiakini. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  11. ^ a b "BICYCLE-FRIENDLY- ARE WE THERE YET? (Part 2)". Townplan Department. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
  12. ^ "Kuala Lumpur Strategic Zone 2020". DBKL. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  13. ^ "It takes a village… to build a bicycle". The Malay Mail. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  14. ^ a b "Cycling slowly gaining popularity as viable form of transportation". The Star. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  15. ^ a b "Auto-Free World". Transportation Alternatives. Retrieved 3 October 2015.
  16. ^ "Turning KL into cycling city". AsiaOne. Retrieved 4 October 2015.
  17. ^ "KL bandaraya mesra basikal" (in Malay). Utusan Malaysia. Retrieved 24 September 2015.
  18. ^ "New South West cycling lane to open in KL". poskod.my. Retrieved 24 September 2015.
  19. ^ a b c d "Kuala Lumpur opens first bicycle path for public use". PaulTan.org. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  20. ^ "DBKL identifies two permanent bicycle lanes in the city". The Star. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  21. ^ "Mayor: Embrace cycling culture". The Star. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  22. ^ "Malaysia as an international cycling destination". The Sun. Retrieved 3 October 2015.
  23. ^ "Bicycle Lane...Perceived to be safe?". CycleFriday Utility Cycling. Retrieved 4 October 2015.
  24. ^ "Bike Lanes". Akmal. Retrieved 3 October 2015.
  25. ^ "DBKL allocates RM5m to expand network of cycling paths". The Sun. Retrieved 3 October 2015.
  26. ^ "Elevated cycle lanes from KL Sentral to Lake Gardens in the works". theedgemarkets.com. Retrieved 24 November 2015.
  27. ^ a b "New law soon to protect city cyclists". The Star. Retrieved 18 September 2017.
  28. ^ "KL's first bicycle path opened to public". Astro Awani. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  29. ^ "KL's First Bicycle Path Opens With DBKL's Plan To Ensure Motorcyclists Won't Misuse It". Says.com. Retrieved 4 October 2015.
  30. ^ "Newly launched bicycle lane misused by motorists". Astro Awani. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  31. ^ "Mayor: Stricter enforcement on bicycle lanes". The Star. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  32. ^ "Happy Kiara trails". The Star. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  33. ^ "FRIM offers alternative mountain bike trails". FRIM. Retrieved 4 October 2015.
  34. ^ "Enjoy outdoor activities and the flora and fauna at research institute". The Star. Retrieved 4 October 2015.
  35. ^ a b "USE OF BICYCLES ON RAPIDKL TRANSPORT". RapidKL. Archived from the original on 23 September 2009. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
  36. ^ "Getting commuters to cycle". The Star. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
  37. ^ "Bike N' Ride". Rapid KL. Retrieved 25 June 2017.
  38. ^ "Commute by Train". BaikBike. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
  39. ^ "Bicycles soon to be allowed on the LRT, off-peak hours". PaulTan.org. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
  40. ^ "Cycle Asia KL route confirmed". The Star. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  41. ^ "KL car-free morning now twice a month". The Star. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  42. ^ a b "Rising popularity of cycling is good news for owners of bike shops". BaikBike. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  43. ^ "The Grumpy Cyclist is no ordinary cafe". The Star. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  44. ^ Hoyer, W., Maclnnis, D. and Pieters, R. Consumer Behavior. Cengage Learning, 2013, p. 466. ISBN 9781133435211
  45. ^ "Brompton bicycle cult". The Star. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  46. ^ "Vélo Express KL, the bicycle messenger delivery service". BaikBike. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  47. ^ a b "Have bike, will deliver: Vélo Express KL, the bicycle messenger delivery service". The Malay Mail. Retrieved 4 November 2015.

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