The young and old roll down the street like kings at launch of Car Free Day

Posted on December 12, 2011. Filed under: Environment and Livelihoods |

– The Star-

THE usually busy and bustling Beach Street in Penang was a scene of tranquillity as cars were prohibited from entry in conjunction with Car Free Day.

Children could be seen riding their bicycles while their parents took leisurely strolls along a quiet and peaceful stretch.

Cycling fun: Trishaw riders taking their passengers for a ride

Some were also jogging, cycling, in-line skating and even taking part in aerobics lessons that were held on the road.

Penang is the first state in the country to have a Car Free Day along some streets in George Town every Sunday beginning yesterday.

Thiew Wee Seng riding his rover bike

Businessman Liam Goh, 43, said it felt weird walking along the Beach Street stretch as it was always busy on weekdays.

“I plan to bring my parents here next week as it will be nice for them to stroll along the heritage buildings of the inner city without the fear of being knocked down by vehicles.”

Earlier, more than 5,000 people turned up at the crack of dawn to celebrate the launch of the Car Free Day.

They then participated in a bicycle ride around inner George Town with Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

A total of 30 trishaw riders also took part in the event.

The crowd shared a light moment when a trishaw rider picked up a stray dog that was nearby onto his trishaw for a ride.

Two cyclists received all the attention when they brought out their Penny Farthing and antique bicycles for the event.

Off to the circus: Wooi riding his Penny Farthing bicycle

Engineer Timothy Wooi, 51, said he assembled his Penny Farthing bicycle, which had a large front wheel and a much smaller rear wheel, from recycled old bicycle parts at a cost of RM800.

“It took me about a week and a half to build this bicycle. I built this bicycle to promote cycling and to support the state’s green initiatives.”

He added that the Car Free Day was an excellent initiative by the state government to reduce carbon footprints and create awareness about global warming as well.

Another cyclist, Mubarak Omar, 63, brought along his antique bicycle to ride in the event.

Mubarak showing off his antique bicycle during the Car Free Day at Beach Street in Penang

“I bought this bicycle in 1962 to cycle to work . Although I have a car now, I still ride this bicycle during weekends.

“I have even cycled from the island all the way to Sungai Petani on six occasions,” he said, adding that many antique collectors had offered large sums of money for his bicycle but he refused to part with it.

In his opening speech, Lim said that the event was another milestone in the state’s efforts to go green and fight climate change.

“The streets are for you, the people of Penang, to make your own during Car Free Day every Sunday.”

He added that a new bicycle lane from the second Penang bridge to Teluk Bahang would be drawn up by 2020.

The Car Free Day will take place every Sunday at certain stretches of roads in George Town. Motorised vehicles, including motorcycles, are disallowed on these stretches from 7am to 5pm.

Beach Street will be off limits to motor vehicles from the China Street junction to the Union Street junction, while both Bishop Street and Church Street will be closed from the Beach Street junction to the Penang Street junction. The whole of Church Street Ghaut will be closed.

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