6 safety tips every cyclist should know

  • Travel
  • Tuesday, 30 Aug 2016

Cyclists can avoid busy roads by using side routes such as this footpath in Section 5, Petaling Jaya.

The best way to use the LRT system may be to combine it with a bicycle (or if you’re feeling lazy, a motorbike). Otherwise:

1) The stations are too far to walk from our homes;

2) There’s little or no car parking there, and

3) The feeder bus service is poor.

To enhance my mobility, I wrote about how convenient it was to bring a folding bike along in the LRT trains, and how this gave me door-to-door transport from home to final destination.

Using the Cycle-Fold-Ride method – namely, Cycle to LRT stations, Fold up your bike and then Ride the LRT – liberated me from having to worry about traffic jams and brought the whole city within an easy commute.

When I posted my story on Facebook, many people were intrigued and interested. SURE, it sounds like a good idea, they commented. But...

Yes, there are many worries about cycling in Malaysia.

The biggest concern of most folks is safety. As reader Angela Rima commented, “I’m afraid of getting hit by cars, falling into potholes, bike tyres getting caught in drain grilles and getting robbed by thieves in a car.”

Freedom! A folded bike and the LRT translate into super mobility all over the city. Photos: The Star/Andrew Sia
Freedom! A folded bike and the LRT translate into super mobility all over the city. Photos: The Star/Andrew Sia

Here are some common sense safety tips:

> Cycling a short distance along quiet housing area roads to the nearest LRT station should be relatively safe because cars don’t (or can’t) speed on such roads. Remember also that traffic jams are a cyclist’s best friend as cars are forced to go slow – cycle past them with glee.

> Always avoid big busy roads when cycling. If you really have to cross one, get off your bike and push your bike along. If it’s safe to walk across a traffic light junction, it’s safe to push your bike across it.

> If you are kiasi (scared to die) like me, to be even more safe, you can do what I do, which is to cycle along pedestrian pavements (but always give way to those who are walking).

> You should not have to cross major multi-lane highways to get to the nearest LRT station. But just in case you do, you can carry your bike up (and down) a pedestrian bridge. For me, this is more tiring but my arms get a good workout so I treat it like my “free gym membership”.

> Look out for potholes and especially drain grilles that can trap narrow bicycle wheels. As you will be cycling only 2km or 3km to the nearest LRT station, you should get to know the route well after a few trips and thus know when and where to avoid the pitfalls.

> If you are cycling at night after work (from the station to home), make sure you have front and rear lights on your bike.

I have cycled along Malaysian city and rural roads for years without any mishaps. It’s not as scary as it looks if you are alert, careful and use your common sense. Join one of the many cyclists’ group rides on Facebook and see how they handle the roads to gain confidence.

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