PM opens Rattanakosin Island bike route as 'New Year's gift'

national December 29, 2014 01:00

By Tanatpong Kongsai
The Nation

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PRIME MINISTER Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday opened a cycle route in Bangkok's Rattanakosin Island. The premier invited the public to travel by bike and called on motorists to follow the traffic rules.

Prayut presided over the opening ceremony of the 8-kilometre cycling route, which is the first complete cycle route in Bangkok. The opening ceremony was attended by deputy premiers, armed forces chiefs, the Bangkok governor as well as the public. The route is intended to be the government’s New Year present for the people. 
After the opening ceremony, Prayut led a bike ride on the route, starting at King Rama III Memorial Park. He also urged motorists to be mindful of cyclists, while advising cyclists to ride carefully. 
The route covers are on Ratchadamnoen Klang Avenue, Tanao Road, Bamrung Muang, Kalayana Maitri, Sanam Chai, Thai Wang, Maha Rat, Na Phra Lan, Na Phra That, Rachini, Phra Athit, Phra Sumen, and Sip Sam Hang roads. 
Launching the route, Prayut said he wanted to promote safe cycling as a part of everyday life because it saved money and reduced pollution. 
Five new cycle routes planned
The government, he said, plans safe bicycle parking areas. 
He also asked motorists to follow the traffic rules and be kind to cyclists. 
There are 31 cycle routes in Bangkok with a total length of 232 kilometres. In 2015, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration will set up five more routes on Somdet Phra Pinklao, Arun Amarin, Phra Sumen and Sanam Chai roads and footpaths of Ratchadamnoen Road. 
Bangkok Governor MR Sukhumband Paribatra pledged to develop bike lanes around Rattanakosin Island to promote cultural tourism and car-free traffic in the capital’s best-known cultural site. 
In his speech to the public during the inauguration of the new bike lane, the governor said he had a plan to improve the condition of the 8km bike lane covering 12 routes around Rattanakosin Island, and the 10km lane covering five routes towards Thonburi by installing more safety equipment and repairing the existing ones. 
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has promoted the use of bicycles as a transport option since 2008 as part of its campaign for cultural and environmentally friendly tourism. The BMA currently has 31 bike lanes of 242 kilometres in length. The latest one was inaugurated today. 
Sukhumbhand said no driver was allowed to park any vehicle on the bicycle lanes, and offenders would face a maximum fine of Bt1,000. 

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