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Govt’s commitment to make cycling a viable commuting choice lauded

SINGAPORE — Cycling enthusiasts applauded the Government’s eye-catching move to incorporate dedicated paths for two-wheelers in the redesign of the North-South Expressway, noting that it demonstrates the will to create a car-lite environment in Singapore.

SINGAPORE — Cycling enthusiasts applauded the Government’s eye-catching move to incorporate dedicated paths for two-wheelers in the redesign of the North-South Expressway, noting that it demonstrates the will to create a car-lite environment in Singapore.

Still, transport analysts and Members of Parliament (MPs) noted that some minor details on the use of these paths remain to be ironed out, with safety in mind.

Mr Woon Taiwoon, who co-founded cycling group Love Cycling SG, hailed the incorporation of cycling into the emphasis on upping connectivity across the island.

“The new expressway design is a very innovative approach which further demonstrates the car-lite intent,” said the 42-year-old product designer. “We are delighted to see cycling being integrated fully into the plans.”

Mr Lam Shiu Tong, a cyclist for almost 30 years, said it shows the commitment to make cycling a commuting choice. “This is fantastic. Cyclists have been waiting for this for a long time,” said the 49-year-old, a senior director at Singapore Sports Hub.

Agreeing, Mr Francis Chu, also a co-founder of Love Cycling SG said: “The Government is committed to make cycling a viable choice for commuting.” The 56-year-old added that facilitating cycling as a mode of transport is “long overdue”.

While they welcomed the move, experts and MPs on the transport government parliamentary committee said there can be greater clarity on the usage of the cycling paths to make it safer for everyone.

MP Ang Wei Neng (Jurong GRC) suggested installing a divider to separate vehicular traffic and bicycles. “So that when (a) car wants to move to the cycling path it hits the kerb and prevents (accidents) from happening,” he added. “We need to have some safety precaution.” Mr Ang was also concerned about the kind of bicycles and personal mobility devices (PMDs) that will be allowed on the cycling lanes.

The Land Transport Authority has set up a panel to explore the rules and norms that govern the use of footpaths and cycling paths. This could possibly include regulations on the use of bicycles and PMDs. The panel will decide on the enforcement that should accompany these rules and norms, which will be compiled in a report by the second quarter of this year.

SIM University senior lecturer Walter Theseira said: “For high-speed bicycle commuting, the path absolutely has to be separated from vehicle traffic, ideally by hard barriers — such as curbs — but also separated from pedestrian traffic, though this could be done with softer barriers. If separation is not achieved, bicyclists will be fighting with pedestrians for space and there will more pedestrian-cyclist accidents, which will probably hurt the adoption of bicycling as an accepted mode of transit here.”

On whether there can be more cycling lanes in future, MP Lim Biow Chuan (Mountbatten SMC) said it depends on the result of this particular project. “If you create a cycling trunk (route) and that leads to cyclists riding everywhere in an irresponsible manner, there will be a backlash,” he said.

“I’m concerned that if cyclists feel that ‘well, I am entitled to ride on the road whichever way I want’, there will be adverse reactions from other motorists.”

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