Of all the ways to start the year, this might be one of the worst.
Why is that cyclists feel they are entitled to more and more of our existing road infrastructure? Astro Awani reported that a Bukit Jelutong community organizer by the name of Faz Adhili is demanding that the government reserve motorcycle lanes on main highways for exclusive cyclist use on the weekends.
The rationale for this is that traffic should be lower, and therefore it would be fine for cyclists to pretty much have a weekly takeover. The problem is it is already a grey area for motorcycles to be on the main highway when there is a motorcycle lane, and to add to that cyclists definitely shouldn't be on highways either.
Many statements from the government have also indicated that they are getting tired of this entitlement and arrogance from cyclists, saying that they may propose a registration system for bicycles on par with those of cars. If anything, regulations are tightening for road cyclists in the coming years.
But as a solid counterpoint, my colleague Adam Aubrey - a fan of two-wheeled machines, both motorized and not - has his own views:
In my many years of cycling either abroad or in Malaysia, never have I ever wanted to be on the same road as fast moving vehicles. Instead, my friends and I would look for the quietest of routes so that we can enjoy our healthy hobby. We have travelled to many states in Malaysia and have had a wonderful time cycling all over Malaysia without being harassed nor have we annoyed motorised vehicles.
The reason why there is a war against cyclists at the moment is probably down to the pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic which has limited the movement of people has probably caused an influx of cyclists to carry out their activity in the capital where the infrastructure is not suitable for serious group cycling. With the addition of new cyclists who have just picked up the hobby, many have headed towards roads not suitable for cycling, just so that they can clock some of that much needed kilometres that cyclists love.
They also used to be able to express themselves at closed road cycling events, but due to mass gathering restrictions, no events are allowed at the moment. Unfortunately, enforcement agencies do not understand what is going on and have slapped some silly rules which they think will help cyclists and motorists. Making lights and bells mandatory will not solve the issue.
There's also an opinion that cyclists should be licensed and registered in the same way motorists are so that they can be accountable in an event of an accident, but shouldn't preventing the accident be the main point? To build a cycling-friendly infrastructure will take decades so perhaps during this pandemic period we should just tell motorists to share the roads with cyclists and tell cyclists to be more mindful and cycle on roads that are safer for themselves- because, at the end of the day, cyclists are more at risk of injuries than those on motorised vehicles.
Until some reasonable rulings are put in place, unfortunately, no one will be happy. Motorbikes used to be the de facto road users that everyone loves to hate but now it's the turn of the other two wheeled machine. Maybe car drivers just hate anything with two wheels and treat them more like pests than anything else.