Cycling on highways: A dangerous exercise

 |Sep 8, 2017
File pic credit Lebuhraya Latar website.

PETALING JAYA: Despite orders prohibiting cycling activities on highways especially those with three lanes, there are still those who defy orders and continue to cycle on highways.

A survey by Malaysia Outlook on a few stretch of highways in the Klang Valley finds that cycling activities are still ongoing especially during weekends, predominantly in the emergency lanes.

As if not bad enough, there are those who use the highway as a training ground which clearly seems to pose a danger to them.

A road safety expert who is also former Malaysian Road Safety Research Institute (MIROS) director-general, Prof Dr Wong Shaw Voon said that cyclists should think about their safety on highways.

According to him, the speed of bicycles is different from other vehicles on the highways, and this poses a threat, coupled with the weight of certain vehicles.

“High speed from other vehicles will cause strong wind which will cause cyclists to lose balance.

“Other vehicles on the highway also cannot see the bicycles clearly as they are smaller in size, causing accidents to happen,” he said when contacted by Malaysia Outlook.

He stressed that cycling activities are unsuitable on highways as there is a higher risk of accidents and the highways are not designed for bicycles.

He said there are many other places cyclists can carry out their activities whether for training or recreational purposes.

He said it could be possible that some of the cyclists were simply trying to be daredevils by using highways as their training ground.

“Accidents are unpredictable and we learn from mistakes but safety on highways cannot be regarded as an experience for us to become experts.

“Safety is very important, exercise is good for health but that goal will not be accomplished if it is being carried out in a dangerous environment,” he said.

Wong said even though statistics show that accidents involving cyclists are low, it should be prevented from an early stage.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai previously banned cycling on highways following an incident where eight teenagers were rammed to death on a highway in Johor Bahru in February.

He said if at anytime there are groups that wish to use the highways for their cycling activities, they should get permission from the local councils and the police to help monitor the safety of their convoy.

Cyclists should also wear safety attire while cycling and parents also play an important role in ensuring their children’s safety while cycling.

In the incident in February, eight teenage boys aged between 13 and 17 died after being knocked down by a car along Jalan Lingkaran Dalam near the Mahmoodiah Muslim cemetery in Johor Bahru.

In the latest incident, two Paralympic athletes were among five victims of a hit and run incident on the Kuala Lumpur-Selangor Expressway (LATAR) in Kuala Selangor yesterday.

In a statement, LATAR had stressed that any cycling activities on the highway is strictly prohibited in line with the ban imposed by the government. – MO