Cycle of Life, Death And Hope
On a bright sunny day, 200 cyclists, wearing white tops gathered at 3K Sports Complex in Subang Jaya to pay our respects to the late Shamsul Aizat Bin Mohd. who was killed while cycling on the Kesas Highway on 24th December 2015. This Ride Of Honour was initiated and organised by avid cyclist,Dave Ern, together with legendary ex-National Cyclist Dato Shaharudin Jaffar to offer moral support and some financial assistance to the grieving family. When I first heard the news of Shamsul’s tragedy on social media, I felt deeply saddened, and although, I did not know who Shamsul was, I immediately signed-up to join this tribute ride because rather than feeling helpless and frustrated, this was an opportunity for concerned cyclists to express our emotions in a positive manner, and to stand united as cyclists against the perils of cycling on public roads.
It was the first time, Shamsul had ridden on the highway on that fateful day, and it was to be his last ride. It is very sad to see a family man who was cut-down in the prime of his life, leaving behind a grieving young family. Is there a consolation that Shamsul died doing what he loved? It was too sudden, and too shocking to comprehend such human tragedy. Yes, cycling on public roads can be dangerously fatal, but so is driving a car or riding a motorbike. Is there a way to improve the safety for cyclists, so that cycling fatalities can be reduced?
In the presence of Shamsul’s wife, children and sister, Kelana Jaya MP, Wong Chen promised, “At the next Parliamentary Sessions in June 2016, I can help you (cyclists) and our community to bring-up the issue of road safety for cyclists at the national level in Parliament. Tell me what are the specific public safety issues that you want me to raise, and I will endeavour to help in my capacity as a Member Of Parliament.” Needless to say, MP Chen received a rousing cheer from the participants for giving hope to us and the family of Shamsul for a safer cycling future.
Every week, hundreds of cyclists utilise the motorcycle lanes along the Kesas Highway and the Guthrie Corridor Expressway as their training ground for the following reasons:
– it is relatively safer for cyclists to share the bike lanes with motorbikes rather than sharing public roads with cars.
– the road surfaces are in relatively good condition.
– the lanes offer miles and miles of uninterrupted cycling.
Officially, the cyclists are not allowed anywhere along the highways, but the respective Highway Concessionaires turn a blind eye and take no preventive or punitive actions against cyclists using their Highways. Perhaps, the time is right for these Highway owners to acknowledge the existence of so many cyclists, and start taking steps to implement certain cycling safety measures such as putting-up safety signages warning motorists of the present of cyclists; better upkeep of the motorcycle lanes in terms of proper lighting and installing bicycle-friendly road grills. These upgrading measures need not be expensive, and if they can save the lives of cyclists such as Shamsul, then surely, it would be worth all the effort.
In our haste to embrace modernisation, we have destroyed much of our life-giving Rainforests and we have polluted our rivers, oceans and even the air that we breath. To counter these unsustainable commercialisation, I believe that environmental-friendly activities such as organic farming, waste recycling, solar-power supply, eco-tourism and even, cycling should be promoted to save our planet from such man-made disasters. However, to combat these global-warming problems, we must all take the necessary actions locally. Thus, when we support a seemingly trivial pastime like cycling, we are in fact taking one big step in reducing our heavy reliance on limited fossil fuel. Take my brother, Faisal Hussein who recently invested in a foldable bike in order to commute to work using public transport. His subsequent savings on petrol, toll and parking fees in Kuala Lumpur will pay-off for the new bike within one year. Moreover, biking to work has helped Faisal become a fitter person.
Cry For Help
I was touched to see so many cyclists and non-cyclists, from community leaders to ordinary citizens, turn-out for this unprecedented tribute ride to support the family of Shamsul. On such an emotional occasion, it was fitting to see a teary sister of Shamsul unselfishly pleaded, “We are here today not only for Shamsul, but to campaign for better road safety to benefit all cyclists and our community.”
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About The Author
Gus is the Founder of Running Toons and a HIIT Fitness Coach. As a sports writer, he has contributed numerous insightful articles to The Star newspaper, Running Malaysia magazine, Cycling Malaysia magazine, Cycling Evolution magazine, Swim Bike Run magazine and more. LIKE Happy Runner and follow gusghani @Instagram.