Cycling is a safe activity, posing little risk either to cyclists themselves or to other road users. The degree of risk assumed by cyclists depends on a variety of factors: where they are riding, the condition of the road surface, the speed they are riding (especially on descents), the condition of their bikes, how visible they are at night, and so on.
Kuala Lumpur is a relatively safe place to cycle, even in the city center.
Accidents involving cyclists do happen though. Sometimes fatal ones. So my friends and I do what we can to stay away from dangerous situations. They cannot be avoided entirely however, for example when crossing junctions. With proper care, those can be negotiated safely.
Nevertheless, there is one place along a popular route where the risk level rises significantly. This is before and after the Persiaran Kewajipan intersection on the KESAS highway from Kota Kemuning toward Subang Jaya. There are in fact three danger points to be negotiated during that 2km / 1.2mi stretch. There is no motorcycle lane along that stretch, so cyclists have to ride on the highway.
The first danger point comes 400 meters / 1,300 feet after the motorcycle lane ends, and we are spat out onto the highway.
A lane of traffic filters down onto the highway from the left. We cyclists have to hold our line while watching for vehicles cutting across from left to right. At this point we are already riding in the middle of the highway, with three lanes to our left, and three lanes to our right.
The second danger point immediately follows. We have to switch our attention to our right. We must watch for traffic merging from the right and moving into the three exit lanes on our left. That is the most adrenaline-inducing section, because the traffic approaching from behind and to our right is travelling at highway speeds. The speed limit there is 90kph / 65mph, but some vehicles are moving faster.
Our strategy is to ride together as one group, in double-file, and as fast as we can, along that section. Fortunately it is slightly downhill, and we can spin up to about 60kph / 37mph. The adrenaline rush helps as well!
We then get a rest as the highway separates from the off-ramp, and we can roll along the road shoulder under the Persiaran Kewajipan overpass. The shoulder is wide, and we can ride a few yards to the left of traffic.
We have about 500 meters / 1,600 feet to catch our breath. Then we have to cross the two lanes of traffic coming from the left down the ramp from Persiaran Kewajipan onto KESAS.
There is about 200 meters / 660 feet for us to get over to the far left and back onto the safety of the motorcycle lane.
It is an unavoidable gauntlet for anyone riding from the west of Bandar Sunway towards Bukit Jalil. We have ridden that section many times, and have, so far, been lucky. No near misses.
I have ridden that section alone. Which raises the adrenaline level even more. I make sure that I am as visible as possible. Bright clothes, flashing lights, and an arm waving in the air. I also make sure that I get there before dark. Riding that section of KESAS at night would really be tempting fate.
Having travelled that route many times myself, I totally agree with you and absolutely despise that particular stretch of road. I have analysed several cyclists’ routes on Strava to see how they tackle that particular interchange and their course pretty much agrees with you — hold the line, speed downhill and get through the intersection as fast as possible.
When I am riding with a group though, my preference is to turn left onto Persiaran Kewajipan and go eat lunch at one of the shops along Jalan SS 14/1 or 14/2, which pretty much avoids the most dangerous section of that intersection together.
For the third danger point though, when I am travelling straight through instead of stopping for food, I tend to stop at the road shoulder and wait for traffic entering KESAS from Persiaran Kewajipan to clear first.
Thank you for reading my blog.
We’ve talked about turning left onto Pers Kewajipan, but have yet to give it a go. Your practice of makan somewhere along Jln SS 14.1 or SS 14/2 is appealing. I’ll give that a try.
How do you get back to KESAS after makan?
As for Danger Point 3, we usually manage to roll until there is a gap in the traffic. We have been known to stop and wait as well.
After makan, we rejoin the NPE from Jalan SS 14 and head west. There is a U-turn just a short distance from there. After getting over to the other side we continue east until the roundabout and take the 3 o’clock exit which gets us back onto Persiaran Kewajipan.
At one time my friend didn’t want to take the U-turn and just carried the bike across the road in front of the Petron/BHP petrol stations… which I guess works as well, but there’s a tricky wide drain to negotiate while wearing cleats…
Thanks for the directions.
And that would be me. It wouldn’t be the first time that I have fallen in a drain while crossing it with cleats on.
Speaking of turning left onto Persiaran Kewajiban, I recently heard about a place called The Bike Hub Café, which as the name indicated specifically caters towards cyclists. I haven’t had the opportunity to check it out yet, and unfortunately it is located at the opposite side of the road which requires U-turning at the roundabout… but just thought I’d mention it as another potential makan spot.
Thanks for head’s up. I’ve heard of The Bike Hub Café too. Will have to stop there one day.