12 Aug 2022

Real Review: Cycling and Walking in Jakarta

by:Ratu Tasya Andriani

Editor:Ramdan Malik Batubara, Aditya Gagat Hanggara

12 Aug 2022

In Jakarta, people’s awareness to switch to more environmentally friendly transportation is starting to be seen. Since the old PSBB (large-scale social restriction) period, the number of bicycle users in Jakarta have increased in significant numbers. 

In order to know the reasons behind the phenomenon, Jakarta Smart City has interviewed some members of the Bike2Work community and other citizens who often walk in Jakarta.

The Reasons

Pei Adanya, a 52 years old state-owned company employee that joins the Bike2Work movement shares his routines of using bikes in Jakarta. “It started as a hobby. Then in 2012, I tried to bike to work, and from 2017 it continues as a routine. For me, a bicycle is my transportation to work and to other places,” he said.

Other than Pei, there’s thousands of Jakarta citizens who also choses bicycles as their main transportation. Kapsul Mabruri (32 years old) is one of them. As an employee in a government institution, he bikes to work, and uses it at work. “I use a bike for daily mobility. At work. I use a bike to accompany my leader during regional monitoring, and to send documents between agencies.”

There are various reasons why people choose to cycle and walk, some do it as an effort to reduce motor vehicle pollution, for economic reasons, or for health reasons.

A unique story comes from Uzza Ulviana (26 years old), a private employee that often walks in Jakarta after suffering leg injury. “So, I had an ankle injury, and after an examination my leg bones showed signs of bone aging. The doctor said (the bone aging) is too early for my age, so I was recommended to walk a lot and get sun exposure,” she explained. From then on, Uzza often chooses to walk to places that are reachable to walk, such as her office, the bus stop, and many other places.

Another story comes from a public worker named Indra (44 years old). He confessed that biking in Jakarta makes him meet a lot of friends. “While cycling to the office or to any place, I meet/make a lot of friends on the streets, and it (cycling) also makes me a bit more economical in spending on vehicle fuel consumption,” he said.

Kapsul Mabruri with his friends from Bike2Work community

Based on their reasons, it is evident that people’s interest in cycling and walking in the capital is quite high. This interest certainly needs to be supported by adequate facilities to make cycling and walking experience in Jakarta more enjoyable. So, has Jakarta become a city that is friendly to cycle and walk?

The Experiences

Indra cycling in Jakarta

Living in a city with good, comfortable, and integrated mobility access is a dream to many people. To people that live in a metropolitan city with busy road networks and many high rises like Jakarta, cycling and walking has a lot of challenges.

Bayu (40 years old), another state-owned company employee who is also a member of Bike2Work shares his worry about cycling in a road busy with private vehicles. “Cycling on weekdays requires a lot of caution and patience, (while) on weekends I can be more relaxed,” he said.

In the past, Kapsul also had an unpleasant experience, “I was hit by a motorcycle while I cycled in Permata Hijau, it felt like I was going to die, I somersaulted in slow motion (laughs),” Kapsul said.

From these stories, we know there are still things that need to be addressed so that cycling and walking could feel more safe and comfortable, both in terms of facilities and road users’ habits. Therefore, the Government of Jakarta is committed to continuously improving existing facilities, in order to realize smart mobility in Jakarta.

The Facilities

As an effort to accommodate cyclists and pedestrians, in 2022 the Jakarta’s Department of Transportation has commited to build 190 kilometers of bicycle lanes in Jakarta. In the same year, the Department of Public Works was also in the process of revitalizing 20.003 km of sidewalks in Jakarta, which follows 337.02 km of revitalized sidewalks between 2016 and 2021.

The good news is, the cyclists and pedestrians in Jakarta have felt the impact of Jakarta Provincial Government’s efforts to build and repair road facilities.

“Cycling in the capital has become more comfortable because there are protected bicycle lanes, and other riders have also begun to accept bicycles users. Bike parking has started to be available everywhere. You can bring bicycles in mass transportation, and cyclists’ changing rooms are also available in several places,” said Kapsul regarding the current cycling facilities in Jakarta.

Pedestrians also started to feel the positive effects of the sidewalk revitalization program. Naura Nady (23 years old), a content writer, shared her experience walking on a revitalized sidewalk. “Actually, walking on the revitalized sidewalk is very comfortable because it is spacious, and there are no obstacles from other transportation. Usually, if there are no sidewalks, I have to walk near cars and motorbikes. After revitalization, it’s safer, and the sidewalks don’t have holes in them,” she said.

Of course, there’s still a lot of aspects that need to be improved to make cycling and walking in Jakarta really, really safe and comfortable. For example there are still needs for supporting facilities such as parking lots for bicycles.

When asked about said facilities, Pei agrees its importance. “Parking lots are important, not only for their availability but also their security. Sometimes we don’t have to bike from home to our destination, we can bike to commute to the station, and continue by train, or with Transjakarta, so the parking lot must be really safe for us to put our bikes in,” he said.

Apart from the facilities, the habits of road users also need to be considered. Although now the facilities are getting better, Indra feels there are other challenges that need to be faced when cycling in Jakarta. “Bicycle facilities in Jakarta are now okay, but the problem is the road users. The protected bicycle lane along Thamrin-Sudirman road is still often used by motorcycle users and cars.” Some of these concerns remind us that education and strict action for road users who violate the rules need to be encouraged.

A Friendlier Future for Cyclist and Pedestrians

Although there are still challenges when cycling and walking in Jakarta, we can see that with the commitment and joint efforts of the Provincial Government, Jakarta residents, and various communities, the hope of making Jakarta a friendly city for cyclists and pedestrians can be realized in the near future.

As citizens of Jakarta we can give our support by utilizing and maintaining existing facilities, provide constructive advice to relevant stakeholders, and most importantly build awareness to respect fellow road users.

Together, let’s make Jakarta a city that is friendly to cyclists and pedestrians!

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