Written by Shirley T
Friday, 06 June 2008 14:47
I hope Malaysians do not be too upset about the fuel price hike. If 'CRISIS' is written in Chinese word, it is made of two characters; 'danger' and 'opportunity'. Danger or challenges are ahead but we should not stop looking for solutions or opportunity. In my opinion, cycling culture is worth investing for fellow Malaysians. Talking about bicycle, most of us choose to picture the problems. Not to worry, every problem does have an answer.
| Challenges|| Solutions/Who can make it happen?|
|Little cycling safety on roads||Government to allocate safe bicycle lanes and rules to protect cyclists|
|Tropical climate; hot and sunny throughout the year||Industry to design bicycle with fold-able roof-top for some models|
|Good bicycle is expensive|| Government to provide rebate/subsidy|
|Not popular or perceived as 'low' class|| Industry to make it trendy and perceived as 'cool' thing to own. Approach world class sports person like Nicol David in marketing campaign/promotion|
|Need physical strength/energy to cycle for long journey||Industry to design electric motorized bicycle|
|No support/maintenance kiosk available along the roads||Government to support the electrical charging kiosk & Industry may franchise repair/maintenance services at various locations like current gas station|
|No safe area to park/to keep||Local authorities to convert current car park to bike park. Prepare a safe, free and ample bicycles parking area especially in town/city or at LRT/bus/train stations|
|Not convenience to bring on public transport||Provide incentive to bus/train/LRT company that are bicycle friendly|
Then, let us picture this? The bicycle industry booms in Malaysia. Hey, we are Malaysians BOLEH ('Boleh' means 'can' in Malay language). If we can produce a reasonably good car why can't we produce a simpler vehicle called bicycle. We make it our NATIONAL vehicle.
How to spark the bicycle industry in Malaysia?
1. Survey our market. Gather some data by demographic and study the demand for bicycles. What Malaysian folks love to have for a bicycle? The functionality, design/features, safety feature, price etc.
Of course, we need some incentives (which are not costly compare to improve transportation system) from government. We are just being reasonable.
2. Government can lend a hand to popularize this industry by subsidizing bicycle purchase. Rather than provide a rebate for fuel, use the same amount to encourage people to use bicycle. RM625 + RM150 per year for bicycle purchase rebate. So, no additional cost incurred, right?
3. Transport department/government should next provide a safe designated lane for bicycle whereby other vehicles are banned on this lane. Consider a safe and ample parking area at prime locations for bicycles at no cost.
4. Focus back on bicycle industry, offer local folks the investment opportunity or invite FDI to kick off the industry. Start producing the bicycles that Malaysians folks like. For bicycle with shade/roof, solar panel can be installed as add-on to generate solar energy (with some engineering break through though, next Nobel price winner is in the making!). Wow! Kill two birds with one stone. For biking with kid, fix a detachable stroller with shade for family outing. Be creative and receptive towards consumer need. Do open the retail shops to reach consumers in term of sales and services.
5. As consumers, our role is to buy the bicycle made in Malaysia and use it as often as possible.
Imagine the advantages we can gain from this culture and industry:
1. Provide an employment opportunities and new income to our country.
2. Casualty and fatality rate due to car/motorcycle accidents will drop significantly.
3. As a country, we will be proud to be the first nation that is eco-friendly, perhaps our target is 50% of vehicles on the road are close to zero carbon foot prints. We have the edge over many other countries as our size is rather small, so cycling can assist in getting around easily.
4. As we cycle, we exercise. Malaysians will be healthier, spend less on medical bills, enjoy longer years on earth and live happily.
5. Reduce government's burden. Spend less on road repair/maintenance with bicycles mushrooming on the roads. At the same time channel the petrol subsidy for other critical improvement. On top of that, as Malaysians demand less fuel, we can sell to other countries to gain higher revenue as income.
I may sound too idealistic but what do you think?
Some informative sites to learn more about bicycle culture:
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