KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 11 — The police have strongly discouraged the public from riding bicycles on highways or major roads without proper precautions and planning.

Traffic Investigation and Enforcement Department director DCP Datuk Azisman Alias said although cycling activities on highways were not expressly prohibited, cyclists are advised to always comply with highway laws and rules to ensure the safety of other road users and themselves.

“Of late it has become a new trend among Malaysians to cycle on highways, which in turn has raised many reactions and brought about danger to cyclists and other road users.

“Last year road accident statistics involving cyclists recorded 201 cases, involving 107 fatalities, 35 serious injuries, and 59 light injuries. From January until October this year, 137 cases were recorded, including 56 fatalities, 18 serious injuries, and 63 light injuries,” he said in a statement.

Azisman said cycling on highways could potentially disrupt traffic as other vehicles using it at the same time create a risk of accident.

“Drivers of lorries, cars, motorcycles and the like are also reminded to be more considerate and careful of cyclists as they are very vulnerable to danger while using the highway.

“The department also reminds those who wish to do cycling activities to choose the appropriate location and time, such as in an area with less vehicles, and not somewhere during peak hours including going to and coming back from work,” he said.

The director added that cyclists must ensure their bicycles and equipment have required safety features including using only a roof rack carrier on their vehicle, to transport their bicycle.

“Those found guilty of offenses while riding bicycles on highways can face penalties under the Road Transportation Act 1987, including Section 54(1) of the Act where riding excessively and causing danger can be fined no less than RM1,000 and no more than RM5,000, as well as imprisonment not exceeding 12 months.

“Similarly Section 79(2) of the Act states that where any traffic sign has been lawfully placed on or near any road, any pedestrian or any person driving or propelling any vehicle, who fails or neglects to conform to the indication given by the sign, shall be guilty of an offence and shall on conviction be liable to a fine of not less than RM300 and not more than RM2,000,” he said.

Errant cyclists on the road can also face action under the Road Traffic Rules 1959, such as Rule 35 in which riding bicycles without a front and back light is punishable by up to RM2,000 in fines and six months imprisonment.

Rule 42 also mandates that bicycles must have safety features including brakes and a bell, and that cyclists must pedal in one row. Failure to comply will result in a fine of no more than RM2,000 and imprisonment for no more than six months.