Cyclists will ride cycles around Bangkok on "Car-free Sunday" scheduled for the next three months.
BIKES: Slow travel with a low carbon footprint by Sirinya Wattanasukchai
Cycling in Bangkok has always been a traffic dilemma for both cyclists and conventional motorists. The former want proper space to safely ride their bicycles, while the latter feel they are deprived of driving space and full use of the roads. And perhaps, some day soon, street vendors on the footpath will start to feel they are losing "their space", too
Simply put, these conflicting views are just a lack of public understanding. In fact, all road users are just "guests" with equal rights and must share the roads. "It's public space, and every motorist is a guest that must share it," said Saranarat Kanjanavanit, secretary-general of the Green World Foundation (GWF).
Fortunately, though, these misperceptions will be corrected on Sunday during the first-ever "Bangkok Car-Free Sunday" event, held in the heart of Bangkok's central business district, from 7am to 2pm.
Organised by the Green World Foundation, in conjunction with Bangkok Big Trees, and Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA)'s Bangkok Bicycle Campaign, the event aims to raise environmental awareness and promote slow travel, which causes less carbon footprint.
To get rid of prejudices against cyclists - who are viewed by many as weirdos or a nuisance on the roads - attending cyclists are encouraged to dress up and join the free 'Bike Chic Trip'; Saranarat insisted that women in skirts can still pedal. There will also be around 100 bicycles provided for enthusiasts free of charge.
As for the cycling route, cyclists will start from Silom intersection and head to Charoen Krung Road - with the left-most lane of the loop route closed off for cyclists - and then turn left and go down Sathon Tai Road. Next, the cyclists will continue riding down Witthayu Road and turn left onto Phloenchit, before making another left turn onto Ratchadamri Road and back to the starting point.
To encourage more people to appreciate slow travel, guided tours will also be conducted. The first is a one-hour bird- and lichen-watching tour in Lumpini Park starting at 7am, followed by a guided 10km cycling tour through the streets and sois surrounding the Sathon, Silom and Phloenchit areas, where participants will have the chance to check out some of the lesser-known peaceful places in the downtown area, including chic cafes and various properties with huge trees.
Today there are 28 designated bicycle lanes throughout Bangkok, including some bike routes on loop roads, some of which are on paved footpaths while others are on the farthest left lane of the road. However, many of them are underused, since the bike lanes are blocked by street vendors or illegally parked cars.
Despite this, the BMA remains reluctant to regulate the bike lanes and does not punish the violators. Therefore, a better understanding about the use of bike lanes and the cyclists' rights has been campaigned through casual activities, like "Car-Free Sunday."
"There's no point in issuing a ticket to violators if the bike lanes are not actually used by the cyclists," said Jate Sopitpongsatorn, adviser to the Bangkok Governor and a coordinator of the campaign.
"The first public event, scheduled to be held every month for the next three months, will raise awareness about the existence and facility of bike lanes. If they are practical for cyclists, then conventional motorists will acknowledge their existence. Paying a fine won't change their habit - but having an understanding will," added Jate.
Call 08-7690-1579 to reserve a bicycle, or bring your own bicycle on the BTS (all types) or MRT (folding bikes only). Visit http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/event.php?eid=215296591848285
(Source: Bangkok Post, BIKES, Slow travel with a low carbon footprint, 7/07/2011, Sirinya Wattanasukchai, link)
carbon footprint - the direct effect of a person's actions and lifestyle have on the environment in terms of carbon dioxide emissions, usually estimated by using a Carbon Calculator, each activity a person does such as take a plane trip, drive your car, use a particular product or service adds to your carbon footprint (See Wikipedia)
footprint - 1. the impact or trace of something that remains after an event happens, 2. the pattern your foot makes when you walk in the sand
slow movement - a social movement that believes in slowing down the pace and speed of life."It began with Carlo Petrini's protest against the opening of a McDonald's restaurant in Piazza di Spagna, Rome in 1986 that sparked the creation of the Slow Food organization. Over time, this developed into a subculture in other areas, such as Cittaslow (Slow Cities), Slow living, Slow Travel, and Slow Design." (See Wikipedia)
slow travel - a social movement that believes in slowing the speed of travel
slow food - the original "slow movement" (See Wikipedia)
bike - same as "bicycle"
cycling - the activity of riding a bicycle
cyclists - people who ride bicyclists
pedal - to push the pedals of a bicycle round with your feet ถีบจักรยาน
route - a way or path from one place to another place เส้นทาง
cycling route - a route that a bicycle can go from one place to another place
bicycle lanes - a special area on the side of roads for bicycles to travel in
bike routes - a way to get from one place to another place by bicycle
loop route - a route that returns to the place that it started from
loop roads - roads that return to the place they began
closed off for cyclists - when a street allows only bicycles to travel on it (no cars, trucks, motorcycles or other vehicles allowed)
conventional - usual or normal, commonly used, standard way of doing something ธรรมดาตามแบบแผน
conventional motorists - meaning: people driving cars, trucks or other vehicles
lichen - a slow-growing plant that typically forms crusty and leafy covering on rocks, walls, and trees (See Wikipedia)
traffic - the number traveling to a place or along a road during a period of time (people, aircraft, ships, trains, cars, trucks, etc.) ความหนาแน่นของจำนวนคน หรือยานพาหนะในช่วงเวลาใดช่วงเวลาหนึ่ง
dilemma - a problem that is difficult to solve (because there really is no best choice)
proper - actual or real จริง (พระราชพิธีพระราชทานเพลิงพระศพจริง)
some proper space - some real space
street vendors - people who sell things from a small stall or cart on the street พ่อค้าแม่่ค้าหาบแร่แผงลอย
footpath - sidewalk, the place on the side of the road for people to walk on (that is also used by street vendors and also bicycles)
vendors - people who sell things in a market
conflicting - having differences (that cannot all be right)
conflicting views - different opinions that people have about an issue
lack - does not have ขาดแคลน
lack of public understanding - when people do not fully understand an issue (that is perhaps a little complicated)
rights - something you are legally or morally allowed to do or have (See Wikipedia) สิทธิ์
share - to have or use something at the same time as someone else ใช้ร่วมกัน
misperceptions - misunderstandings (things that people believe to be one way, but are actually the other way)
in conjunction with - together with
awareness - the state of knowing about something การรับรู้, การทราบ
raise environmental awareness - make people know more about environmental issues (that they need to know about for the betterment of society and the country)
prejudices - things that a person dislikes (that is not reasonable) (example: the organization's prejudices included people from other countries and women and he gave them inferior service)
weirdo - people who behave strangely (very different from other people and perhaps a little scary)
nuisance - something that causes a lot of problems and headaches for you, annoyance
nuisance on the roads - something found on roads that causes a lot of problems and headaches
encouraged - having more confidence or hope about something มีกำลังใจ
dress up - put on special clothes (more fancy and elegant clothes such as a dress or slacks, for a special occasion)
chic - stylish, fashionable and sophisticated
chic cafes - fashionable cafes (to hang out with friends and meet people)
insisted - say firmly that something must happen or is true, and will not change mind
free of charge - free
intersection - a place where roads, lines, etc., join or cross each other สี่แยก
blocked - when something is in the middle of a path, road or passage (preventing moving through)
encourage - make people more interested and excited about doing some activity and give them energy to do it, motivate, give confidence ปลุกใจ
surrounding - all around a place บริเวณรอบๆ
have the chance to - have the opportunity to
designated - formally chosen for some special purpose แต่งตั้ง, ที่ได้รับการแต่งตั้ง marked, separated, or give a name for a particular purpose ถูกกำหนด
reluctant - don't want to do; not very willing to do something and therefore slow to do it ไม่เต็มใจ not willing to do something ลังเลใจ
regulate - to control an activity officially by using rules ควบคุม
violate - to break a rule or the law
violator (noun) - a person who breaks a rule or the law
punish - make a person suffer in some way, because they have done something wrong (here: probably pay a fine)
punish the violators - punish the people who broke the law
issuing - officially giving something to people ออกคำสั่ง
issuing a ticket to violators - when the police give a ticket when someone breaks the law (which means that person has to pay a fine)
coordinator - someone whose job is to organise the various parts of an activity and make sure that all the people involved work well together ผู้ประสานงาน ประสานงานกัน ทำงานร่วมกัน
campaign - a series of actions intended to produce political or social change การรณรงค์, การกระทำการหรือวางแผนเพื่อให้บรรลุตามเป้าหมาย
scheduled - planned to happen at a particular time or day ตามตารางเวลา
facility - a building or place used for a particular purpose
practical - useful for real people in real situations, suitable for the situation in which something is used ที่ขึ้นอยู่กับความเป็นจริง
acknowledge - let people know that you know about something and understand what it is รับทราบ รับรู็
fine - an amount of money that you have to pay because you have broken the law ค่าปรับ
reserve - kept for use for something or someone ที่จัดสรรไว้ สำรอง สำรองไว้
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