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Tag Archives: Safety

Anatomy of an Adrenaline Rush

Adrenaline Rush De Wallen Industry

Illustration courtesy of De Wallen Industry

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.

Safe Urban

Illustration courtesy of Lucas Varela (FT Magazine)

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.

KESAS Kewajipan Map

Map courtesy of Google

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.

KESAS Kewajipan 1

Map courtesy of Google

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!

KESAS Kewajipan 2

Map courtesy of Google

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.

KESAS Kewajipan 3

Map courtesy of Google

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.

We seal our fate

Two things that thoughtless drivers do to upset cyclists – i.e. me

Inconsiderate Bike Banner

There are more than two things that thoughtless drivers (this is a more family-friendly and safe-for-work term than the label I would prefer to use) do that upset me, but these two are at the top of my list.

First is the driver who overtakes a cyclist . . .

Inconsiderate Braking 1



and then immediately brakes, usually to make a left turn.  Often without indicating said left turn.

Inconsiderate Braking 2


Which forces the cyclist to take evasive action.

Suggestion for drivers reading this (you don’t want the label I have in mind for you if you do the above)

Slow down behind the cyclist.  It will take mere seconds for the cyclist to ride past the left turn / parking space that you want to take.  Then you can make your left turn without endangering anyone.

Number two on my list is the driver who doesn’t look, or looks and chooses anyway to . . .

Inconsiderate Pulling Out 1


pull out into the road in front of the cyclist.

Inconsiderate Pulling Out 2


Which forces the cyclist to take evasive action.

Suggestions for drivers reading this (you don’t want the label I have in mind for you if you do the above)

  1.  Look over your shoulder to the right before you pull onto the road
  2. If you see a cyclist approaching, wait for a few seconds until the cyclist has ridden past you.  Then you can pull out without endangering anyone.

Why do some drivers do these two things that upset me?

The unkind view is that they are impatient anal sphincters (I’m trying to be family friendly / SFW).  I don’t know if this can be remedied.

A more generous view is that they are bad drivers, and just don’t know any better.

Even more generously, they underestimate the speed of the cyclist, and are surprised at how quickly the cyclist is actually moving.

I can only hope that as a result of being shouted at / gesticulated at by a pissed-off cyclist, the bad drivers and poor estimators of speed realise where they went wrong, and correct their errant ways.

Then I’ll be doing less of this.

Inconsiderate Banner 2 theangrycyclist blogspot com

Graphic courtesy of