Jakartans have one day to exercise safely along the city’s high profile protocol roads—the weekly Car Free Day on Sunday.
Out of all the cities in the world that organise Car Free Days, only Jakarta takes it as seriously to the length of having the city government run the event directly every Sunday from 6am to 11am. As an initiative to reduce carbon emissions in the city, cars and motorcycles are prohibited to pass Sudirman and Thamrin protocol roads, allowing residents to exercise and conduct other healthy activities around the area.
Since it was started in 2007 by the Fauzi Bowo administration, Car Free Day in Jakarta has become a favourite event among kids, youth and families to exercise and start building a healthier lifestyle. Jakarta is not the city that first enforced this movement that become local regulation, with Bogor and Malang being the first to start the weekly Car Free Day. Jakarta Governor passed the regulation in 2012 officially established Car Free Day as a weekly public activity. As the regulation is put into effect, it resonates to other cities in Indonesia as they began to adapt Jakarta’s Car Free Day to promote public health in their cities as well.
With many people coming from different parts of the city, Car Free Day may not be the most conducive place to exercise anymore. There are too many distractions on the street for people not concentrate on their outdoor workout. With so many available choices, eating random street snack sold by local sellers and enjoying weekly pop up entertainment can be hard to resist. Once again, having a healthy lifestyle requires commitment.
Most people participate at Car Free Day for personal reasons. Shinta, 25, went to Car Free Day every weekend to relieve stress as a result of an entire week’s work. “I don’t have time to exercise during the weekdays and so I go to Car Free Day every Sunday to exercise with people who do the same thing. I tend to get bored if I do it at the gym,” Shinta, who works in a finance company, explained.
With many people coming from different parts of the city, Car Free Day may not be the most conducive place to exercise anymore. There are too many distractions on the street for people not concentrate on their outdoor workout.
Christian, 33, prefers exercising in the morning since he believes it is the best time to exercise. “I go to Car Free Day in the early morning to get the best and cleanest air quality. I’m not the type of guy who can exercise during the evening like night running in Gelora Bung Karno. I think the air quality is not good since everyone is outside and usually traffic hits the peak during that time,” Chistian explained during his jogging break in Senayan.
Restiawan, 42, and his family went to Car Free Day together to demonstrate a healthy lifestyle to his children as well as enjoying family quality time on the weekend. “It’s good to do it with family. I can challenge my kids to a running race or just going out cycling. My wife also cook healthier food for us because I don’t want my kids looking for questionable snacks after all the exercise,” Restiawan Said.
Air Pollution on Jakarta Car Free Day
According to Air Visual, a website that tracks the PM (particulate pollution) levels worldwide, Jakarta’s air quality improves during the weekend, especially during Car Free Day.
Monitored each week since the first week of June, the air quality in Jakarta on Sunday stands at moderate levels range between 60-100 on average or lower than air quality in the weekdays, which mostly reached unhealthy levels (above 150). Based on the website, this moderate level is still considered unsafe for most sensitive individuals to exercise outdoor.
Those looking for the best time to exercise on Car Free Day will need to wake up as early as 6am to enjoy the cleanest air. People can also reach the local park with more trees. Since motor vehicles in areas around the main avenue of Sudirman-Thamrin, use of masks are still recommended.
This article is originally from paper. Read NOW!Jakarta Magazine July 2019 issue “Health, Sports, and Recreation”. Available at selected bookstores or SUBSCRIBE here.