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Thursday August 13, 2009

Hidden dangers on the motorcycle lanes

THE Police have advised motorcyclists using designated lanes in the Klang Valley to avoid speeding to prevent any mishaps but in the federal administrative capital of Putrajaya, such advice may not be necessary.

The motorcycle lanes in Putrajaya are in such a sorry state that even a ride at a leisurely pace is out of the question, let alone travelling at the speed limit or even speeding.

Chances are that any motorcyclist attempting to speed on these lanes would end up landing in front of a moving car along a busy stretch of the highway because of the many obstacles along the motorcycle lane.

Bad shape: A motorcyclist’s view of the damaged lane.

StarMetro took a ride on the Putrajaya motorcycle lanes last Saturday and what we discovered would put the town builders to shame, especially what seems to be a lackadaisical attitude towards the maintenance of these lanes.

The potential death traps do not speak well for a city that boasts of beautiful architecture and scenic bridges to boot.

On several occasions, we were forced to turn back and use the highway as the lane was inaccessible due to either minor landslips or huge potholes in the middle of the road.

It is learnt that the authorities had done nothing to maintain the lanes over the past ten years and now, deep potholes, flooded tunnels and poorly lit or slippery stretches abound.

The motorbike lanes along the Putrajaya – Puchong stretch seem to be in better shape but have hazards of their own like untrimmed tree branches jutting out into the lane or sand on the road.

However, the Putrajaya – Dengkil stretch is in dire need of a complete overhaul. To make matters worse, if a motorcyclist suffers an accident on this stretch, it is unlikely to be noticed as it is set back quite a distance from the road.

While it could be argued that the traffic volume is not high so there is no incentive to maintain the lanes, the local authorities still have a duty to keep it maintained and this can even encourage more motorcyclists to use the lanes instead of dicing with death on the highway.

Road to nowhere: Even the signs have disappeared from some of the stretches.

“Nobody can blame us for flouting the law as we have little choice. Even if there are no users, it is only proper to carry out maintenance work on the lanes and not allow it to deteriorate further,” a motorcyclist who declined to be named said.

In the housing areas of Putrajay, the motorcycle lanes, surprisingly, are well-maintained but under-utilised. Instead of motorcyclists, these lanes are now being used by the neighbourhood children to cycle, which is another hidden danger.

With so many dangers on the lanes, it is no wonder that motorcyclists prefer to use the highways in Putrajaya rather than the motorcycle lanes. Proper maintenance is needed before they will be able to utilise the lanes as they were meant to be used.

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