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Kuala Lumpur mayor pledges bike lanes for Earth Hour switch-off

Mayor Ahmad Phesal wants lights off in 350 buildings

The mayor of Malaysian capital city Kuala Lumpur has made a unique offer to the city's business: if enough turn off their lights for Earth Hour on Saturday, he'll introduce new and safe cycling routes.

The Sun Daily's Zaim Zamani reports that Mayor Datuk Seri Ahmad Phesal Talib said that when Kuala Lumpur City Hall launched the city's participation in Earth Hour in 2013, 86 buildings participated. In 2014 that rose to to 277 buildings.

"So for year 2015, I have set a target of getting 350 buildings to join the Earth Hour campaign, and if this target is achieved, they will be rewarded," Ahmad Phesal said.

Earth Hour aims to highlight the dangers of climate change with a symbolic hour of darkness starting at 8:30 pm local time on Saturday March 28. It was started as a lights-off event in Sydney, Australia in 2007. Since then it has grown to include around 7,000 cities in more than 162 countries and territories around the world.

The mayor also said that he encourages all the building owners in Kuala Lumpur, as well as individuals, to switch off their lights for Earth Hour.

"I sincerely urge all other organisations and individuals to pledge their support for Earth Hour 2015 and be connected with the global community in creating a sustainable world," he added.

Rewarding environmental activism with safe cycling facilities is an unusual tactic, but it is at least an improvement on the attitude of some British politicians.

In 2012 politicians including Malcolm Rifkind MP said that bike paths shouldn't be built until cyclists behave better, an attitude that Carlton Reid pointed out mysteriously fails to apply to roads and drivers.

John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc founder Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined road.cc in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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