5

Watching videos of traffic chaos in Bangkok makes me question if there are any cities in SEA where you can commute by bicycle safely and with speed higher than by foot. This means either:

  • well-supported bike lanes (without typical problems, mentioned e.g. in this article)
  • motorists being friendly to cyclists, so you can use roadways
  • wide enough and not crowded sidewalks, so you can cycle there
  • Any small city is generally cycling-friendly. Can you make your criteria more specific? – JonathanReez Sep 30 '15 at 9:58
  • Possibly excepting the tailgate parties, all of the problems noted by that article can be seen in bike lanes in any major city in the world. Anyway, see for instance 5 best biking cities in Asia – Michael Hampton Sep 30 '15 at 13:51
  • @MichaelHampton I agree that such problems must be omnipresent, but their degree and how they are fought should differ a lot throughout the world. – modular Sep 30 '15 at 22:08
  • @MichaelHampton that article is nice, but it's not about SEA (except Singapore of course). And also I need visa for those countries (unlike most of SEA). – modular Sep 30 '15 at 22:13
  • As a side note, having lived in Singapore for ~8 years, I wouldn't call it bicycle-friendly -- while better than any other SE Asian country and improving, traffic is aggressive, bike facilities are pretty limited, and there's little bike commuting culture. It's still got a long way to go compared to (say) Amsterdam or Copenhagen. – jpatokal Oct 1 '15 at 5:48
5

As a cyclist both recreationally and professionally, I have found Thai drivers quite willing to share the road with bicycles. Granted Bangkok and Patong (on Phuket) are not bike friendly, but most of the rest of the country is. While dedicated bike paths are not common, they are slowly starting to appear in areas around the country. Your referenced article in the Bangkok Post was obviously written by a car commuter not a cyclist, picking on small issues ignoring the fact that the bulk of that 184 kms will be great riding.

But one big thing is, that as a foreigner, you have to learn to go with the local flow, you can't expect the same conditions as in a bike friendly country like the Netherlands or Denmark. There is a lot of give and take, the concept of "I HAVE the right of way" becomes more "can I go first".

Similar driving attitudes prevail in other central SE Asian countries (Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar). Vietnam unfortunately inherited the aggressive Chinese driving style.

Finally a rant ... sidewalks are NOT bike paths unless specifically marked as such. Bikes are vehicles by law in most every country of the world and as such are required to use the roadways unless a specifically designated off road bike path is present. The existence of a ramp at the curb does not equate to that sidewalk being a bike path. That ramp is there for handicap access.

  • I added sidewalk option because of Tokyo – modular Oct 1 '15 at 6:26
  • Even Tokyo limits cycling on sidewalks to those specifically designated for such (though I heard that the rule was recently amended to also include any sidewalk more than 3 meters wide). Unfortunately Japanese cyclists, same as other uninformed casual riders, assume they can use any sidewalk they please. – user13044 Oct 1 '15 at 6:58

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