Mayor: Embrace cycling culture

Pedal power: Cyclists enjoying their ride in the city during the KL Car Free Morning.

Pedal power: Cyclists enjoying their ride in the city during the KL Car Free Morning.

Citing examples such as Copenhagen and Stockholm, Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Ahmad Phesal Talib hopes the city will one day fully accept the cycling culture.

He said this at the recent KL Car Free Morning, which is now being held twice a month for people to walk, jog or ride any non-motorised vehicle around the city.

While city folk now accept the road closures that take place during KL Car Free Mornings, Ahmad Phesal felt that what they were doing now was more like a tourism gimmick rather than an effort to promote the culture in Kuala Lumpur.

“We cannot always spend so much money to give the people this event,” said Ahmad Phesal, who wished that people can someday freely cycle in the city on their own.

“Instead of ‘I want to go to the city because I want to cycle’, it has become ‘I want to go because I want to see the event’. If there’s no event, there’s no people, and we will not be able to sustain this cycling culture.”

Having improved pedestrian walkways and with the recent completion of the city’s first cycling track between Mid Valley Megamall and Merdeka Square, Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) is slowly striving to make the city more pedestrian and cyclist-friendly.

“We want to make sure that people in Kuala Lumpur can enjoy the space and freely explore the city with their families,” he added.

A 7km route is closed off to cars every Car Free Morning for two hours, passing Merdeka Square, DBKL headquarters, KL Sogo, Concorde Hotel and KLCC.

Most visitors are walkers, joggers or cyclists, but people can also be seen with inline skates, skateboards, handcycles, scooters and even self-balancing electric unicycles.

The event is made even more lively with a marching band and free horse carriage ride around the route by DBKL, as well as a Zumba session after each Car Free Morning.