Cycling is one of the greatest mode of transportation to help ease the pollution problem and protect environment. Thus in conjunction with the World Environment Day, CAP is organising our 13th Bicycle Campaign with the cooperation of the Penang Department of Environment and Penang Department of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives & Consumerism.
Since 2006, CAP with the cooperation of various agencies and government departments has organised 12 bicycle campaigns which were held in Penang, Butterworth, Alor Setar, Ipoh, University Utara Malaysia (UUM), Kangar, Balik Pulau, Jawi and Kepala Batas. All the campaigns received enthusiastic support from various sectors of society.
We are glad to see that our campaigns have generated a lot of interest amongst various NGOs in Penang, Kedah, Perak and Perlis, and have encouraged them to organise cycling events on their own initiatives in their own towns. As a result, the number of people using bicycles have increased tremendously.
I wish to congratulate these NGOs on their success and for organising many events to promote cycling. We have noted that cycling has been practised as a form of exercise and recreation, but CAP would like to see the bicycle turned into a practical and increasingly hip form of urban transportation.
The bicycle campaign will be held on Saturday, 15 September 2012, at 8.00 am and will start at the compound beside Queensbay Mall, Bayan Baru. Participants will cycle along the beach of Queensbay for two rounds and end up at the starting place, covering a distance of 15 km.
Some reasons for holding this bicycle campaign are:
• Malaysians do not get enough exercise and this campaign will encourage them to cycle to school and the workplace which may be within short distances.
• Cycling greatly improves health. Regular cycling makes a person less likely to suffer from coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and other illness. (Source: British Heart Foundation)
• Bicycles are cheap to own and maintain. They do not require road tax, insurance and fuel.
• By enhancing public health, much savings can be derived from reduced medical expenses, medical leave and improved productivity.
• Bicycles do not pollute and are also quieter, unlike cars which produce tons of poisonous fumes and are the main source of air pollution in Malaysia. Cycling can thus help maintain cleaner air for breathing and minimise noise pollution.
• Bicycles take up little space on the road, unlike cars, for which billions of Ringgit of public money has to be spent on construction of highways, flyovers and multi-storey car parks. A bicycle is also small enough to be parked anywhere, saving on parking bills.
This campaign is meant to be a platform for people from all ethnic groups and sectors of society to mingle together, to promote goodwill and harmony among the various ethnic group.
In view of the above we are promoting this campaign in the towns and residential areas throughout the country to make cycling become a popular form of recreation as well as transportation.. Much good can be derived from cycling – not only to improve health, but also to protect the environment, save on fuel and transport costs and even for fun. Ultimately, through this inclusive approach we hope to make our communities more livable, connected and safe.
However, cyclists face many obstacles. Therefore to promote cycling and encourage more people to commute by bicycle, we propose that the Government should take the following steps:
• Include safe bicycle lanes on all new roads.
• Modify existing road kerbs to accommodate bicycle cum pedestrians paths.
• Provide clear bicycle signages on bicycle routes.
• Introduce road designs that promote a safe and well-lit environment for cycling. There should be traffic-calming measures to reduce automobile speeds.
• Protect the safety of cyclists. This may be done by restricting the use of motorised vehicles on the road during peak hours.
• Provide safe, convenient and free parking spaces for bicycles.
• Introduce public bike-sharing programmes by setting up self-service racks in town areas for tourists and local folks looking to get a round the city quickly. Bike-sharing programmes have taken off well in Europe, the United States and lately in HangZhou, China.
The public can take part in the Bicycle Campaign using normal bicycles, sports bicycles or mountain bikes. Participation in this campaign is free and every participant will receive one T-shirt. Participants are requested to be present at the starting point by 7.00 am with their own bicycles.
Press Release, 13 August 2012