In testing out the newly established bicycle lanes in Kuala Lumpur, she said investments in safer roads and traffic compliance were key in introducing the concept.
“Cycling is cheap, healthy and environment-friendly. But to encourage cycling, there must be safe roads and traffic awareness by pedestrians, cyclists and motorists as well as government policies.
“In the Netherlands, cycling is a common mode of transport, largely enable by good cycling infrastructure," Kaag said.
“We have the experience to share and this is part of a broader initiative in smart urban mobility. Any investments made will pay off,” she added.
According to Kaag, people should be encouraged to comply with traffic regulations such as speed limits, wearing a helmet and not misuse bicycle lanes.
She led a group of eager cyclists to experience the cycling lanes in conjunction with the Ninth World Urban Forum (WUF9), including Kuala Lumpur mayor Tan Sri Mohd Amin Nordin, Raja Muda of Perlis, Tuanku Syed Faizzudin Putra Jamalullail.
The group of almost 90 people – including dignitaries, Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) officers and corporate representatives – cycled a 1.5km route from the Malaysia Tourism Centre on Jalan Ampang to the KLCC.
Meanwhile, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) executive director Datuk Maimunah Mohd Sharif said cycling should no longer be just about leisure but should be promoted as a mode of transport.
“Cycling lanes should be embedded in the overall integrated development or masterplan of a city,” she said adding this was in line with the country’s New Urban Agenda.
The agenda is an urbanisation action blueprint drawn up for cities and its stakeholders in support of the 2030 agenda, built around a series of Sustainable Development Goals.
Amin Nordin said with the increased foreign direct investments into the city, KL had to be on par in embracing the urban agenda with the right infrastructure in place.
“Hopefully, more KL-ites will be open to the idea of cycling and will give the bicycle lanes a try,” he said.