Penang’s first bike sharing system a rough ride

Penang’s first bike sharing system a rough ride

Words by Ong Yih Hwa
Pictures by Marina Leong

Cycling is easy to get around with and good for health, but in a heritage city like George Town, you might want to take extra precaution when using a bicycle along the narrow roads filled with traffic.

A bike sharing system known as LinkBike is in place and was recently introduced to encourage more people to use bicycles.

There is a total of 25 strategic locations with 250 bicycles within the city centre including the heritage enclave.

Esplanade is the suggested stop when using LinkBike.

This bike sharing system provides an alternative mode of transportation to tourists and indeed it is an attraction. While it is a good idea and the system is working, there maybe more the authorities could do to avert accident from happening to bikers on the road with the heavy traffic flow.

As one cyclist who used Linkbike has put it, “I spent a lot of time pushing the bicycle than riding it!”

Reasons are there are obstacles such as illegal parking of vehicles along the bike lanes and also along several narrow stretches of the main roads, it is much safer to get down and push the bicycles.

A curious motorcyclist stopped to try riding on a LinkBike.

Bicycle sharing has environmental, social economic and public health benefits, according to Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, who cited similar bike sharing systems in operation in Copenhagen (Denmark), Helsinki (Finland), Mexico City (Mexico), and Beijing (China).

This latest public commute is a ‘paradigm shift in urban mobility’ as it offers a brand new approach to sightseeing the World Heritage Site and the city area.

Regular check is to ensure the bicycles are well-maintained.

It is easy to use LinkBike. First, you have to sign up for a LinkBike account through its mobile app or from the official website. A QR Code issued by LinkBike App is used to unlock a bike from any LinkBike dock station. You can also buy a LinkBike card to do the same.

This writer is using her phone to scan the QR Code to unlock the bicycle.

Fast Rent Bike (Penang) director Ken Yeoh says there has been overwhelming response from public to the bike sharing system as it takes less than five minutes to download, register and start using the bike.

“To ensure the bikes are safe during the parking, there are bicycle locks that are attached to the front of the bike.

The LinkBike director Ken Yeoh is making his regular checks of the dock stations.

“Tracking devices on the bicycles will show where the bicycles are at all time. We maintain the bicycles to ensure all are in working order to ensure the bikers’ safety,” he tells this where2 writer.

Fast Facts

Packages Amount Valid
1 day pass RM 2 24 hours
2 days pass RM 3 48 hours
3 days pass RM 4 72 hours
7 days pass RM 10 1 week
1 year pass RM 30 1 year