This is the ‘car’ I use to commute to the office in Jakarta. It is called bicycle. There are too few of tehse in the streets of this city. Why?
I left the office this afternoon and hit a very busy and traffic-jammed Jl. Sudirman. This bus appeared behind the Go-Jek driver (a smartphone app mototaxi) and I liked the three guys cheering the behind.
I cycle to work but do not see many cyclist commuters on my way to and from the office in Jakarta. Look at the photo. That is why: no bicycle lanes, no space to cycle, too many cars and too many motorbikes choking the streets and roads of Jakarta. We need more space for bicycles commuters. That will help to reduce traffic, make the air a bit cleaner, keep people more fit.
This week was a good week for bicycle commuting. I saw fellow bicycle commuters almost everyday. Here is one who was riding in front of me near the Polda head office in Senopati in Jakarta. He went straight at the next crossiong, I turned left. For few seconds two bicycle commuters riding the same road!
Too few bicycle commuters in Jakarta. We need more of them. Join us! @Bike2WorkIndonesia
The end of the school year is approaching fast here in Jakarta. Sometime I cycle through streets that are closed to traffic because of year-end ceremonies . That brings food sellers outside the gate of schools where kids go and buy a snack.
A bit of editing around this office tower in South Jakarta.
It has been raining hard yesterday afternoon. Today on my way to work there were still many puddles in the street. At stop at this one because I like the image of the clouds in the sky.
I cycle pass this tiny piece of green playground in Dharmanwangsa every day (for the past 2 years) and have never seen this hidden statue. Today I saw it with the corner of my eye maybe in a subliminal search for the new photo to post today. I cycled pass, turned back and took my camera to take the photo. It is really amazing to realise how many things we do not see in our daily life. And then when we look for a new angle and a new perspective for a photo we just start to see more. I am sure I have seen this many times before while cycling by, but this hidden statue never imprinted in my memory. I am glad I saw it today. It reminds me of art from Papua or, vaguely, Easter Island. Something from far away.
These are the shadows I saw this morning on the my bicycle commute to work. There was a strong sun and an unusual clear sky in Jakarta.
I took this photo on the pedestrian bridge that crosses Jalan Sudirman in south Jakarta this morning. It was a bit earlier than usual. Nice light. Sone people walking to their workplace. I, one of them.
There is a backstreet on the way to the office. It is closed on both entries so that cars cannot go through. It must have been a popular streets with people looking for coffee and restaurants, for there are few abandoned buildings on bpoth side of this back street. This is the dilapidated entrance of a Balinese rastaurant. I like this entrance. The metal doors. The rusting decorations. The bricks and cement hlding up the doors and that are wearing down, struggling against the tropical weather of Jakarta.
I started today a new project: to publish 1 photo for 35 days using a 35mm lens focal length. I am using the Olympus 17mm f1.8 with my OMD E-M1 which is very very close to 35mm on a full frame camera. I will take black & white photos in the streets of Jakarta mainly on my 8km communte to/from work which I do by bicycle. Let’s see how far I can go.
This photo is of a sign of an abandoned coffee. What remains of the place is a broken door and this sign. Tubruk is an Indonesian-style coffee where coarse coffee grounds are boiled along with solid sugar, resulting in a thick drink similar to Turkish coffee. It is popular in Bali and Java.
There has been an interesting experiment going on in Jakarta this week. The city administration has suspended temporarily the 3-in-1 rule whereby at peak traffic times cars, on some of the more critical roads of the city, have to carry a minimum of three passengers (including the driver). This rule has resulted so called Jockeys, people who are passengers for hire, waiting on the side of the streets to be picked up as the third person. The 3-in-1 rule has only marginally reduced the traffic congestion. Relaxing the rule has therefore resulted (on average) in a marginal increase in the traffic congestions, although, speaking to friends, it seems that traffic on main arteries has worsened considerably, while smaller alternative roads seem to be more free of traffic.
In the meantime, it would be great if there were more bicycles in the streets, more commuters cycling to work, more bicycle lanes protecting cyclists, more parking space for bicycles. That would really make a difference.
We need more bicycle lanes in Jakarta. We need ways that protect us from cars and motorbikes. We need more bike2work commuters.
Even though this is Jakarta, I cycle every day to work. Last week, I think it was Wednesday, I rode my usual route to the office where I work. I started in Kebayoran Baru, got into the traffic logged Antasari, then up to Senopati before getting on the footbridge at the Senayan Transjakarta bus station over Jalan Sudirman.
It takes me about 20 minutes to get to the office and I saw not one, but two other cyclists on their way to work. And guess what? Both were riding a Brompton as I do.
The first cyclist happened to follow my same route. I tailed him all the way until Senopati. He rode a red Brompton, full of accessories: front carrying bag, saddle pouch, retractable mirror fitted on the handlebar. He wore the compulsory helmet and anti-pollution mask.
I saw the second Brompton rider few minutes later as I was starting to push my bicycle up to the ramp of the Transjakarta footbridge. A light green Brompton, inconspicuous, with only basic accessories.
I do not know about you, but I have the impression, since I came back from the annual leave last July, that there are more people in the streets taking their bicycles to go to work. Don’t get me wrong. It is not that the streets are now flooded by bright colour bicycles. But from one cyclists I could spot every three weeks , I can now see three or four a week. Even, two on the same day as last Wednesday. Is something changing? Is this the beginning of a shift that will bring more people on their bicycles and less cars and motorbikes in the streets? Can we start to hope?
After all, Jakarta is among the top 10 cities with the worst traffic in the world. Traffic jams cost to the city economy an estimated $3b annually. In 1999, which is one of the most recent estimates, the health costs associated with air pollution in Jakarta were estimated at $220m.
The city administration is doing a lot for addressing its traffic problem. It has created the Transjakarta bus network system. It is building the first north -south MRT line with both above the road and underground segments. This is a massive investments that finally took off when, now President, Joko Widodo was elected Governor of the city back in 2012 .
These investments are attempts to address the traffic congestion problem and could be complemented by smaller investments to enable more environmental friendly ways to commute to work or go to the supermarket or the grocery store. These could be bicycle lines that are separated and protected from cars and motorbikes. Not everyone will be able to commute to work using their bicycle. Some, but not all, of my colleagues, for example, live too far to do that. The ones who live close enough I think they would commute with their bicycle if the right infrastructure would make it safe.
I see more cyclists in the streets lately. Maybe it is just my imagination or by chance, but hopefully we can really start to hope that cycling to work becomes more accepted and practiced.