akmal's bike park

akmal's bike park

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

22.09.2011: World Car-Free Day

Honestly, I was not aware about this movement or the significance of the date until yesterday when Azizan shared an article from NST in facebook.

I was elated. Albeit, from the views of others (okay, limited to my family only), there is a concern. If it is taken literally, going car-free means using a bike, motorcycle, walking, and most importantly, public transport, in order to get around places.

It led me to evaluate my family's need for the car on a normal day. My wife uses hers to go to work and ferry the children to school an back (distance: 16km one way). My MIL who lives with me would use another small car to send my youngest child to the babysitter (7 km one way). There's no safe route in the morning to commute that far for wife and children, and I'm not confident enough to bring Umar to the babysitter using a child seat even along a not-so-busy road, although I'm sure he'll be very happy with the ride. So, there's a need for efficient public transport if we are to go totally or mostly car-free. 

On the national level, cheap and efficient public transport is of the utmost imoprtace for those who don't bike (don't have one, distance too far, don't know how to ride a bicycle) and those who choose to walk. Facilities and amenities for pedestrians for those who choose to use public transport should be of a good quality and ample quantity. Extended to that, is our public transport willing to take in the concept of hybrid commuting whereby people could hop in the buses or trains with their bikes, be it foldable or full size.

My cousin in Singapore never owns a car. I envy him because he gets to use any kind of car that he wishes (within budget) to travel for a long trip with his family. They rent one. For normal days, they use public transport. Well, the public transport in S'pore is ample, of good service quality and widely connected. We don't have to look as far as London or Copenhagen or Amsterdam, dear Minister of Transport of Malaysia; just head down south across the straits and have a chat with them.

Read some:

I strongly back the points that Datuk Seri Shabery mentioned. Hope that it would materialise:
proper bicycle lanes should be incorporated in city planning
would like to see a bicycle rental service here

Also, from Datuk Naim (MNCF deputy president):
...to discuss measures to make Kuala Lumpur a cyclist-friendly city
...examine the need to create cycling lanes and bicycle parking stations
...identify safe routes for cyclists, look into the connectivity of cycling with public transport, inter-park channels and safety of parked bicycles
...a need for infrastructure for cyclists, such as changing rooms or showers, so that if an employee cycles to work, he has a place to shower in the office or in special shops

Me, as a person who commutes by bike to work:

Okay, while they are starting to look into the proposals beginning with KL, I believe the movement would be nationalised soon.
And then, we could have something to the effect like UK's Cyclescheme, eh?

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