Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol urged all people to respect one another’s rights on the roads by not intruding into lanes which are designated for others. This included lanes marked for bicycles and those used by pedestrians.
Chanthol made the call on February 13 while cycling around Siem Reap to inspect the conditions there. Several photographs showing bicycle lanes being used for parking have recently circulated on social media.
While cycling, he instructed his working team to correct any of the shortcomings they observed, according to the ministry.
Chanthol – who is also vice-chair of the 38-road project in Siem Reap town – said the roads have been completed and are awaiting an official launch.
Nop Karuna, a resident of Siem Reap town, told The Post on February 13 that after the project was completed, some residents and road dwellers had parked in the cycle lanes or used them to sell products.
“After the construction of these roads, there were a lot of people parking or selling things on the bicycle lanes and sidewalks. It is irritating because this is not what these new lanes were made for. When the lanes are occupied, cyclists must ride in the car or motorcycle lanes, which creates the traffic problems these lanes were designed to avoid,” he said.
He also requested that the government expand construction in Siem Reap as the 38-road construction project was not enough. Some roads in Siem Reap have sustained a lot of damage and need to be repaired, he added.
Asia Injury Prevention Foundation country director Kim Panga said the roads built in Siem Reap had been designed for cyclists and pedestrians. It is an exemplary model for other provinces – especially tourist areas – to follow.
However, he understands that because the design may be new to local residents, the authorities should continue to educate and instruct them first before enforcing penalties.
“Our people need to learn about these new systems and change their old habits of parking and selling items on the roads. These new lanes raise the image of our province and improve the safety and health of our people. We should respect that rather than thinking only of our business interests,” he said.
The project repaired and revamped 38 roads totalling 106.42km at a cost of more than $149 million, with $9 million earmarked for drainage.