How a crowd-sourced map changed Kuala Lumpur’s ideas about cycling

How a crowd-sourced map changed Kuala Lumpur’s ideas about cycling:

Anyone who’s ever been to KL knows what the roads are like; long grey snaking highways choked with speeding cars and congested traffic. Not an ideal place for cycling. But as with all of life, where there’s a will there’s a way and sometimes all it takes is for one person to start it off:

Lim first got the idea for a bicycle map in early 2012. He wanted to show how the city could work for cycling – “not for leisure, but for transportation, for utility.” Knowing that most people thought of cycling as “impossible” in the city, he envisioned the map as a tool for advocates. “It was aspirational,” he says. “Because the map would have to come before the infrastructure.”

After getting the word out, Lim designed a blank map of the city to hand out to volunteers. With no dedicated cycle lanes in the city, the idea was for people to explore the routes that were at least possible to cycle, from major roads to unmarked paths. Routes would be marked according to their accessibility for cyclists.

I find it fascinating how when faced with what seems like an impossible task some people just naturally rise to the occasion. Often times it’s one of the people you’d least expect.

Cycling has definitely become more prominent in the media (in Singapore) lately as we tackly our own traffic woes. And I’m proud that Singapore is taking a lead and planning to introduce more cycling routes.


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