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MAIL OPINION  By Shana Kongmun


Bicycle lanes

In a previous issue of the Chiang Mai Mail we reported that Governor Suriya Prasatbuntitya was pushing the implementation and enforcement of bicycle lanes in a bid to reduce traffic and pollution and promote healthy lifestyles among locals. This is certainly an admirable suggestion and one that has seen some implementation already by the bicycle lanes that can be seen in a few areas around the city.
However, one of the drawbacks that was pointed out is the lack of enforcement on parking and driving in these bicycle lanes. Many motorbike drivers think the lanes are there for them to drive down and everyone thinks they are great parking spaces. In a city short on parking spaces, that sentiment is thoroughly understandable on the part of drivers but makes it impossible for bicycle riders to actually use their designated lanes.
The chief of traffic police even said that enforcement needed to be stepped up for bicycle lanes to be practical in the city. What they both forgot to mention is perhaps the even more vital education of current and potential drivers as to bicycle lanes and of being aware of cyclists on the road. Too often I have seen drivers cut in front of cyclists or get so close to them that one small wobble on the part of the cyclist would surely put him or her in danger. This is also true for both motorcycle drivers and car drivers and it belies a lack of consideration for others on the road and an unwillingness to share the road.
Before Chiang Mai can become a truly cycle friendly city this needs to be addressed, in fact a really good driver’s education course for all students in the Mathayom level would not go amiss, teaching road safety, laws and consideration at an early age is the best way to make sure it that these issues are tackled.

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Bicycle lanes