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Expansion of cycling path network may cost over S$1 billion: Lam Pin Min

SINGAPORE — An accelerated project to treble Singapore’s network of cycling paths may cost more than S$1 billion to complete, Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min told Parliament on Monday (Jan 6).

A project to greatly increase Singapore's cycle path network is being sped up after electric scooters were banned from footpaths.

A project to greatly increase Singapore's cycle path network is being sped up after electric scooters were banned from footpaths.

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SINGAPORE — An accelerated project to treble Singapore’s network of cycling paths may cost more than S$1 billion to complete, Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min told Parliament on Monday (Jan 6).

The Government previously announced that the network would be expanded from 440km to 750km by 2025, and to 1,300km by 2030.

The pace of this expansion will be accelerated by “a few years”, Dr Lam told Parliament. In December, he said the reason for speeding up the expansion was the banning of electric scooters from footpaths.

A “practical timeline” is still being worked out with the Housing and Development Board, National Parks Board and town councils, he said on Monday.

Dr Lam said discussions are underway with the Finance Ministry to secure extra funding for this purpose.

“Our preliminary estimate is that we may have to spend more than S$1 billion to complete the islandwide cycling path network,” he said, adding that more details will be given during the debate on the Transport Ministry’s budget later this year.

The Government will unveil its Budget for the year on Feb 18.

Dr Lam was responding to questions from MPs Zainal Sapari (Pasir Ris-Punggol Group Representation Constituency) and Ang Wei Neng (Jurong GRC), and Workers Party’s Non-Constituency MP Dennis Tan. They asked about the number of riders summoned and warned for riding e-scooters on footpaths, and whether the Government has put in more resources to police errant riders who flout the ban from January, among other things.

E-SCOOTER TRADE-IN GRANT

The ban on e-scooters has hit food-delivery riders hard. To cushion the impact, riders have been given a grant to trade in their e-scooters for other mobility vehicles, such as electric bicycles.

Under the scheme, riders who intend to stay on the job would receive a grant of up to S$1,000 each to switch to an electric bicycle or a personal mobility aid (for the less mobile), and up to S$600 to switch to a bicycle.

About 6,120 food-delivery riders had done at least one delivery over a 30-day period before the ban and were eligible for the grant, Dr Lam said.

Among them, about 34 per cent, or 2,100 riders, do four or more deliveries a day.

By Dec 31 last year, the LTA had received and approved 3,550 applications from eligible riders. A fifth of these applicants have since moved to other mobility vehicles.

Mr Ang requested a breakdown, by vehicle type, of the grant applications, including those who chose e-bicycles. Dr Lam replied that about 74 per cent picked e-bicycles, around 25 per cent went for bicycles, and less than 1 per cent settled on personal mobility aids.

One-hundred and thirty riders have also completed a fully subsidised safe-riding programme run by the labour movement to support riders who switched to new vehicles, Dr Lam added.

“This is useful as… road accidents involving (e-bikes) are not uncommon. From January to November last year, there were 21 such accidents,” Dr Lam said.

He added that LTA is working with the traffic police on public education and awareness.

STRENGTHENING REGULATIONS GOVERNING E-BIKES

As e-bicycles are expected to be used by more riders with the ban on scooters, Dr Lam said that the Government was updating the regulatory regime for these vehicles.

All e-bicycle riders must comply with road traffic regulations, such as moving in the direction of traffic, wearing helmets and riding safely.

E-bicycles must also be registered, with only LTA-approved models permitted.

Approved models are pedal-assisted e-bicycles, without throttles, where motors help users along as they pedal. The power is gradually lowered and cut off as the bike reaches 25kmh.

In addition, approved e-bicycles have to comply with the EN15194 standard for electrical and fire safety.

Dr Lam said that since November last year, the authorities have caught riders of 70 non-compliant e-bicycles. Such devices will be seized and forfeited, and offenders can be fined up to S$5,000, jailed for three months, or both.

Related topics

Parliament cycling path LTA Lam Pin Min e-scooters Dennis Tan

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