February 01, 2004

Thai City Plans Country’s Largest Cycle Network

In 2002, Thailand’s Energy Policy and Planning Office (EPPO) awarded 14 municipalities 500,000 baht for a feasibility study of bicycle lanes. Lamphun’s government has proposed a 33.2 km network of bicycle routes, at a cost 220 million baht, which must be approved by a committee in the EPPO.

Bicycle culture is already strong in Lamphun ­ five years ago Mayor Prapat Poocharoen launched a campaign to promote bicycle use. Municipal police use bicycles on their patrol routes, and students are able to exchange recycled garbage for free bicycles at their schools.

“We want to make this town a unique place where residents don’t need to buy cars and motorcycles,” Mr Prapat told the Bangkok Post. He is running for another term in elections later this month.

Currently, 44% of residents bicycle to work, according to a study conducted by the municipality last year, and a whopping 95% of car drivers said they would leave their cars at home if safe cycling lanes were provided. Lamphun also included its bicycle path into its development master plan for 2002-2006, the only municipality included in the EPPO program to do so.

The network would follow 24 streets around temples and tourists attractions, while 25 major roads would get a separate bicycle path. Speed limits will also be reduced on streets with bike paths.

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