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Parking violations create hazards in cycling lanes
Published on: Tuesday, January 25, 2022
By: Sidney Skinner
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Drivers are in the habit of leaving their vehicles at an angle and in spaces which are not designated as parking bays along Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens. Their cars encroach into the blue cycle-lanes on this main road.
The past president for a non-governmental organisation has spoken out about the hazards posed by vehicles which encroach into the blue cycle-lane on the main road between Anjung Senja and Central Market area in the City.

LEONARD Chin, who presently leads the Sabah Flying Club’s cycling team, said many motorists parked indiscriminately along this section of Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens. 

He said they left their vehicles, at an angle, in spaces which were not ear-marked as parking bays.

“On top of this, these cars are parked over the cycle-lane creating blind-spots for those going on foot,” he said. 

“Those walking through the gap between the cars will not be able to tell that there are cyclists on the cycle-lane.

“They are likely to take for granted that there is no one else on the blue lane and walk right into an oncoming fleet of bicycles.”

Such dangerous assumptions had already led to an accident involving one of the Club’s cycling team, according to Leonard.

Graphic shows what happened during the accident which took place in the middle of December 2021.

Leonard said a member from Kolombong was thrown from her bike after colliding with a pedestrian at the section of the cycle-lane, near the Anjung Senja stalls, in mid-December.

“Thankfully, the person on foot remained unhurt despite also falling down.

The cyclist, however, braked hard and bore the full brunt of the collision, according to him.

“She sustained lacerations and bruises on her right shoulder and knee.

“Luckily, there were no cars on the road behind her when she fell, otherwise she could have been have been run over.

“Her helmet was badly damaged from the impact but, fortunately, she was protected from head-trauma because she had it on.”

He said this team-member was still experiencing discomfort with her right shoulder more than a month later.

“Her shoulder has been ‘frozen’ for weeks.”

Leonard has been trying to make the local authorities more aware about the need to safe-guard the wellbeing of cyclists who use these lanes.

“I have not been able to get action from the Traffic Police regarding cars parked illegally over the blue cycling-lanes.

“In June last year, I participated in an online seminar on what cyclists should know, during which this matter was discussed.”

He said the ‘web-inar’ was organised by Universiti Teknologi Mara, the Traffic Police and the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS).

“The speakers took notes about the problem posed by vehicles parked over the cycle-lanes and promised to investigate.

“Nevertheless, so far, nothing has been done to deter drivers from either parking illegally along Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens or from occupying the cycle-lane.

“Urgent action is needed to prevent other cyclists and pedestrians from being injured or worse.” 

Leonard provided Hotline with the particulars of the accident which were forwarded to City Hall.

A spokesman for the agency said a check of its records revealed that the cycle-lanes in the State Capital were under its maintenance.

He said City Hall officers would have to verify what was transpiring along Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens, before further action could be taken.

“Motorists who leave their vehicles in undesignated parking spaces can be slapped with a compound of up to RM300,” he said.

“Such action could be taken under our By Laws on the Provision of Parking Spaces 2003.”

He said repeat offenders faced the possibility of being taken to court where they could be fined up to RM 5,000.

“Drivers can be deemed to have parked illegally, if there is no demarcation painted on either side of the space occupied by their vehicles.

“This is regardless of whether their automobiles obstruct the flow of traffic in the area.” 

This is not the first time that Hotline has been contacted about the public disregard for the right of cyclists to use the designated cycle-lane.  

In an earlier case, this time involving the lane at the public park in Likas Bay, a Luyang cyclist spoke out about how some pedestrians refused to give-way when she tried to ride past them.

A Sabah Flying Club cyclist injured her shoulder. 

A senior citizen even tried to intimidate her by apparently jamming the wheel of her bicycle.

The cyclist said the elderly man was part of a group of 30 or so individuals, including children, who had encroached into the lane marked out for cyclists.

“The group spread out across the entire width of the lane and refused to allow me get through,” she said.

“The old man had a stick in his hand which he stuck into the wheel of my bike.

“He informed me that the area belonged to him and his friends. As he said this, some of the others began to nod.” 

The cyclist said she had to wait for the group to pass before she could make her way further along the lane.

She said there were “no authorities” present at the time to intervene.

“These officers could have at least helped clear a space on the track for me to pass or cautioned the group against blocking the cycle-lane.

“The presence of such officers might dissuade bullies like these from hogging all the space on the lane.”

She said there were signs in the area to indicate that the lane was meant for cyclists.

“Despite this signage, many park users still insist on jogging or walking on the cycle-lane.

“Even ringing the bell on our bikes or calling out is not enough to persuade them to give way. This is especially so on weekends.”

City Hall officers went down to the park after learning about what happened to the cyclist. 

She sustained lacerations and bruises to her knee as well. 

At the time, the spokesman said there were closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras at strategic locations of the park.

He warned mischief-makers and inconsiderate park users that their actions would be recorded by the CCTVs.

“Footage of potential disagreements or conflicts will be handed over to the Police for further action.”

He said the agency’s enforcement personnel also patrolled the jogging track and cycle-lane at regular intervals.

“Our officers will monitor the goings-on at the track in the interest of maintaining a sense of social order. 

“We appeal to track users to be considerate and respectful of one another. 

“Those going for a walk or jog should be mindful of cyclists and avoid using the path set aside for the latter. The opposite also holds true for cyclists.”

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