Cycling does not only benefit your health but it also helps you to save on travel expenses and it reduces air pollution.

Mr. Jamroon Tangpaisankij, director of Thailand walking and cycling institute foundation gave information to the public regarding walking and cycling being the most convenient and cheapest ways to travel to most areas in our daily lives.

The research ministry of transportation found that, if there is support in non-motorized transportation, resulting in improvements to the public transportation, and if these eco friendly ideas are sustainable, there will be a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 8 million tons of carbon dioxide or a savings on the use of benzene of up to 2,900 million liters. These improvements would lead to a annual transportation budget saving of 86,507 million baht.

Doctor Pairoj Saonuam, director of the health promotion fund (HPF) said that they are trying to advise the public to walk more and get involved in cycling activities to reduce health risks. They are doing this by improving environmental areas, developing public transportation infrastructure and supporting all organizations that organize physical activities for people.

However, the bike lane project in Thailand is still not as successful as it should be. The main reason is that the transportation infrastructure does not support bike lanes to a safe standard and cycling accidents occur because cyclists and drivers do not always follow the traffic rules. Mr.Arkom Termpittaya, minister of transportation and communications ensured the public that the department of rural roads, department of highways and department of land transportation are ready to improve the transportation infrastructure and support walking and cycling. Their main concern is for cyclist safety, having safe bike lanes and getting people to follow the traffic rules.

Research of bike routes and risky points around Bangkok conducted by Mr.Pruek Jirasattayaporn, lecturer of office of general education at Thonburi university, found that out of 350 sample groups in Bangkok it is cyclists riding in the Phutthamonthon area who are at the highest risk of being involved in an accident. This is especially true on weekends, with a risk of 55.5% in the daytime and in the evening time on weekends with a risk of 74.2%. The main problems that cause accidents are the physical condition of cyclists, such as health problems, the failure to use hand signals, cyclist’s carelessness, road condition being not suitable for cycling, and the lack of suitable cycling facilities in the area.

The risky points that cause accidents in Phuttamonthon are the areas around the Buddha statue, places with no road lighting, parking lots, bad road surfaces, playgrounds, roundabouts, test driving places, and areas where pedestrians go to feed fish. These areas are especially risky because the draw crowds of people and and are prone to motor vehicle traffic jams.

From an interview with the people responsible for traffic safety the chief executive of transportation found that there are 2 different types of accidents. These are accidents that have no 3rd party, such as when a cyclist overshoots the curve in the road, and accidents that involve a 3rd party, such as when a bicycle crashes into other people or cars. These accidents happen because people do not follow the traffic rules and people ride bicycles in prohibited areas.

Mr.Pruek also said that to make cycling safer they must make suitable cycling areas such as separating cycling areas and walking areas, setting up cycling routes, making more safety signs, installing more lights, and also enforcing cycling rules to prevent accidents.

Having a cycling license was an idea to solve problems but this measure is no longer enforced in Thailand because there were problems with cycling license fees and the government increased expenses in administration.

Assistant professor Chakrit Khannapho, lecturer of faculty of law, Mahasarakham University said that if Thailand was to have the cycling license enforced again they have to make sure that it will not put people off cycling.

In summary, the Ministry of transportation is committed to promote cycling for health reasons and the reduction of air pollution. They are working on safe bike routes, bike routes connected with public transportation, infrastructure suitable for cycling, and getting all cyclists to follow the traffic rules strictly regardless if there is a cycling license enforcement or not.

Original article posted on March 6, 2017 at Manager Online