20,000 security staff deployed at Crown Prince-led bike rally

20,000 security staff deployed at Crown Prince-led bike rally

A combined force of 20,000 policemen, soldiers and civilian volunteers will be deployed along the 43-kilometre cycling route in Bangkok on Aug 16 when His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn leads tens of thousands of cyclists in a ride to mark the 83rd birthday of Her Majesty the Queen, the national police spokesman said on Thursday.

The capital is also working round the clock to ensure roads along the royal cycling path will be smooth, safe and beautiful, Bangkok governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra has said. 

Just two days after opening for public registration, 40,000 people have signed up to take part in the Bangkok rally and another 110,000 registered for simultaneous rides in 76 other provinces at 3pm on Sunday, Aug 16, Pol Lt Gen Prawut Thawornsiri told reporters.

The circular route in the capital will start at Dusit Palace before heading to the 11th Infantry Regiment King's Guard on Phahon Yothin Road and returning to the starting point. In the provinces, the ride will start in front of each city hall.

Since traffic in main Bangkok roads of Si Ayutthaya, Phaya Thai, and outbound side of Vibhavadi Rangsit will be closed from noon to 11pm, motorists will be allowed to use Don Muang Tollway for free during the period, Pol Lt Gen Prawut said. 

"Initially we estimate that the Bangkok rally will be at least 20km long," he said.

Leading up to the event, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration is working round the clock to improve the road conditions on Si Ayutthaya, Phaya Thai, Ratchawithi, Din Daeng and Phahon Yothin roads.

Road surfaces will be levelled and traffic signs and road marks made more visible. Some 100 new street drainage grills will be installed and the landscape beautified. BMA officials will make sure all 423 closed-circuit cameras work, MR Sukhumbhand said.

"What worries me the most is rain," said MR Sukhumbhand, whose popularity has been shattered by two flash floods earlier this year due to unusually heavy rainfall.

Stray dogs also are a concern. BMA officials said from Aug 1 they will start catching collarless canines and keep them at a stray dog shelter in Prawet district.

"In order to prevent dogs from cutting in front of bicycles, we would like to ask dog owners who live along those roads to take good care of their pets," BMA's deputy permanent secretary Pirapong Saicheua told reporters during a tour of this cycling route on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has said the “Bike for Mom 2015” event, which is aimed at promoting cycling as a way to maintain health and cultivate a love of exercise, will reflect a sense of national unity among Thais.

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