Tour buses blocking a dedicated bicycle lane in Dataran Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur.

Despite the best intentions, the introduction of 12km of dedicated bicycle lanes in Kuala Lum-pur city centre has drawn flak from the public.

Some people have criticised the RM4 million pilot project by Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) because it caused inconvenience to both cyclists and motorists.

Others have pointed to the lack awareness among motorists who park illegally in the dedicated bicycle lanes and the lack of enforcement, which effectively defeats the project’s objectives.

Mohamad Rahim Katian, 38, of Geng Kembara Basikal, said he believed that the main issue was that the lanes had been created in busy roads that were not widened.

He said DBKL should have placed the bicycle lanes on pedestrian walkways if the roads could not be widened.

“Instead of taking a portion of existing roads, DBKL should have widened the roads to ensure smooth traffic flow.

“As we all know, the traffic situation in the city centre, especially during peak hours, can be very frustrating as motorists compete for space.

“However, if roads cannot be widened, the best option is to have bicycle lanes on pedestrian walkways.”

Rahim, who has been cycling for about 10 years, said DBKL should also focus on enforcement and boost public awareness of the objectives of the project.

Azlan Idris of Alternative Cycling Club in Gombak urged DBKL to emulate developed countries such as Japan where cycling had become a viable mode of mobility for many people.

He said cyclists should share the same dedicated lane as pedestrians, especially in areas with high levels of traffic.

“The bicycle lanes project is a good initiative (by DBKL), but it seems there was a lack of planning.

“If the main purpose of the bicycle lanes is to encourage city folk to cycle to work, then it should be built on pedestrian walkways instead of on busy roads, which are dangerous for cyclists,” he said.

The 12km long bicycle route, which stretches along several main roads — including Jalan Raja, Jalan Raja Laut, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Jalan P. Ramlee, Jalan Ampang, Jalan Pinang, Jalan Perak, Jalan Gereja, Jalan Tun H.S. Lee, Jalan Raja Chulan, and Lebuh Pasar Besar — is the first phase of the Kuala Lumpur Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan.

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