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Malaysia - Cycling
Cycling in the City
Cycling is popular within cities and many Malaysians use a bicycle to get around. They can make it look an easy task, but likely they are well-honed on how to expertly cycle and avoid the major hazards. As an expat, as tempting as it is, you might need to learn slowly before attempting rush-hour traffic on a bicycle. Firstly, you will have to learn what is acceptable and what isn’t. You’re sharing the road with car users and passenger vehicles and a cyclist is much more exposed to danger than vehicle passengers. Therefore, it is important that your bicycle is roadworthy.
Make sure your tyres are in good condition, your brakes work and that you have bicycle lights so you can be seen in hazy sunshine or darker mornings and evenings. You should always wear a helmet and don’t wear earphones with music playing, you will not be aware if an emergency vehicle is approaching or a car horn is honking. Always wear visible clothing. Make sure you have a spare kit on your bike or in your rucksack. Your kit can include a puncture repair kit, spare bulbs and tubes for your wheels.
Be as alert as you can and don’t ever cycle if you’ve over-indulged the night before or you’re extremely tired. It is not wise. There are pot-holes to negotiate and you just never know if a car driver is going to fail to look in his mirror before opening his car door. It is absolutely crucial you’re alert and on the ball.
There are no set rules for cyclists in Malaysia, it is purely organic and the more people use the roads with bicycles, the more the activity grows and while it is hugely popular, there is still a long way to go. It is not like London and many towns in the UK where there are cycle lanes, there are no lanes for cyclists, and you share the road with a range of other vehicles.
If you enjoy cycling, then consider joining a cycling club. You will make new friends and you can enjoy group outings and garner some wonderful advice on how to manage cycling in your new country.
This is a club that meets weekly and there are group rides. All contact numbers are on the website.
This website shows cycle routes and offers a wealth of information on cycling in Malaysia.
Without gendering the issue, broadly speaking, it is advisable that women do not cycle on rural or unknown roads alone. Malaysia is a Muslim country and in the more rural areas, it is not a good idea. It is important to ensure that safety is paramount. Once you get to know the area and the people then go for it. Until then, always cycle in a group.
The popularity of cycling has come along in leaps and bounds and slowly, information is permeating through to officials that cycling is cheaper, greener and with more people taking up the activity, legislation might just begin to form. Talking to other expats about their cycling routes and what they have learned is another way to gather information.