Biking without fear of getting run over by cars in the heart of Jakarta may soon become an activity that's not just limited to Car Free Day every Sunday, as more dedicated bicycle lanes are set to open on several of the capital's main streets.
Jakarta opened new bike lanes late last month, covering the streets of Medan Merdeka Selatan, MH Thamrin, Imam Bonjol, Pangeran Diponegoro, Proklamasi in Central Jakarta and Pramuka and Pemuda in East Jakarta.
Tomorrow, Governor Anies Baswedan is going to inaugurate the second phase of bicycle lanes, which stretch for over 23 kilometers, connecting Fatmawati, Panglima Polim, Sisingamangaraja, and Sudirman. The launch will come with a "trial period" until Nov. 19, during which time city officials will ride their bikes on the lanes every day as an awareness-raising effort to keep motorized vehicles off of them.
On Nov. 2, the city is set to open its third phase of new bike lanes, connecting Tomang Raya in West Jakarta to Cideng Timur, Kebon Sirih, and Matraman Raya in Central Jakarta and to West Jatinegara and East Jatinegara in East Jakarta.
This year, the Jakarta city administration has targeted to build 63 kilometers of dedicated bike lanes to encourage residents to exercise while reducing the capital's notorious traffic congestion. The policy was outlined in a Gubernatorial Instruction (Ingub) issued by Governor Anies.
Will the new bike lanes serve their actual purpose? Well, there is reason to be skeptical. Some existing bike lanes, such as those on the streets of Blok M that were built in 2011, have been long ignored and used by drivers as parking spots.