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Road cycling: Up to 5 cyclists in single file, 30m safe distance between groups among advisory panel’s recommendations

SINGAPORE — An advisory panel reviewing the rules for active mobility devices such as bicycles has recommended that cyclists using the roads keep to a maximum of five in a single file or 10 when riding two abreast, and that groups of cyclists keep a safe distance of about 30m apart — the equivalent of two lamp posts.

Road cycling: Up to 5 cyclists in single file, 30m safe distance between groups among advisory panel’s recommendations

Among the recommendations is that cyclists using the roads keep to a maximum of five in a single file or 10 when riding two abreast.

  • An advisory panel has recommended that road cyclists keep to a group of five in a single file or 10 when riding two abreast 
  • It also suggested that groups of cyclists maintain a safe distance of about 30m between one another
  • Motorists should also stay at least 1.5m from cyclists when passing them, the panel said
  • It does not recommend the registration of bicycles and licensing of cyclists for now
  • The recommendations were submitted to the Government on Oct 1 and came as more take up cycling in the pandemic 

 

SINGAPORE — An advisory panel reviewing the rules for active mobility devices such as bicycles has recommended that cyclists using the roads keep to a maximum of five in a single file or 10 when riding two abreast, and that groups of cyclists keep a safe distance of about 30m apart — the equivalent of two lamp posts. 

These were among the rules and guidelines set out in the Active Mobility Advisory Panel's latest report, which was submitted to Transport Minister S Iswaran on Friday (Oct 1). A copy of the report was posted on the Land Transport Authority’s website. 

The panel, set up in 2015 to look into rules governing mobility vehicles, bicycles and other equipment, also recommended that motorists stay at least 1.5m from cyclists when they pass them on the roads.

The panel said, however, that it does not recommend the registration of bicycles and licensing cyclists for now, despite some calls — predominantly from motorists — to do so.

Such regimes would be “overly onerous on the cyclists, resource-intensive and operationally challenging to implement”, it said. 

“There is little evidence that such measures would be effective in enhancing road safety and deterring errant cycling. The panel notes that there is limited support for such regimes from its consultations.” 

The panel studied ways to strengthen road safety, improve etiquette and encourage harmonious interactions among all road users. 

This was done through focus-group discussions with stakeholders such as motorists and cyclists, as well as through studying the findings of a public survey by government feedback unit Reach. 

Here are the panel’s recommendations: 

1. Introduce a rule for cyclists to limit their group length to five bicycles 

This means that up to five cyclists can ride in a single file, or up to 10 when riding two abreast, on the roads. 

Right now, cyclists may ride in the formation of two abreast on the leftmost lanes of roads with two lanes or more. 

The recommendation is so that road cyclists may continue riding in groups for safety and visibility, while avoiding causing obstruction and inconvenience to other road users.

Potential safety concerns such as motorists weaving through large groups can also be avoided, the panel said. 

“The maximum length of five bicycles was derived by taking reference from the length of a large vehicle such as a public bus,” it added. 

For groups that exceed the limits of five cyclists in a single file or 10 when riding two abreast, they must split up into two or more groups. 

Even so, the panel said that there should be some administrative flexibility in enforcement, such as when cyclists transit between multi-lane and single-lane roads, where riding abreast is not allowed.

The panel said that any Covid-19 infection controls, such as restrictions on group sizes, will take priority over these recommendations. 

2. Introduce a guideline in the Highway Code and driving-test handbooks for motorists to keep a minimum distance of 1.5m between vehicles and cyclists when passing them

The panel noted that the Highway Code states that motorists should keep a “margin of safety” when passing cyclists, though it does not prescribe a specific distance.

It is thus recommending a gap of at least 1.5m between vehicles and bicycles. 

“This enhancement is important, given that cyclists are the more vulnerable users on roads.” 

The panel added that cyclists should also do their part by keeping a safe distance from vehicles.

3. Introduce a guideline for groups of cyclists to keep a safe distance of around two lamp posts (or about 30m) 

This is to ensure groups maintain a safe distance between one another and allow ample space for overtaking vehicles, the panel said.

4. Continue allowing cyclists to ride two abreast on roads with two or more lanes

This is unchanged from before.

Cyclists will also continue to be required to ride in a single file on single-lane roads and in bus lanes during operating hours, which are from 7.30am to 9.30am and 5pm to 8pm on weekdays. 

Full-day bus lanes run from 7.30am to 11pm between Mondays and Saturdays. 

“Riding two abreast on roads helps to improve cyclists’ safety by increasing their visibility to motorists,” said the panel.

As not all road users may be aware of these rules, the panel recommended that the Government highlight them in public communication and education materials to heighten awareness.

INCREASED INTEREST IN CYCLING 

The Covid-19 pandemic has led more people to take up cycling and other active mobility modes of transport.

The panel said that this has spawned “growing concerns about road safety and tensions between different groups of road users”. 

TODAY reported earlier this year on the increasing tensions between cyclists and other road users. There have also been more complaints about dangerous drivers and errant cyclists making their rounds on social media. 

The Government said in April that the panel would be reviewing the infrastructure for cycling as well as the road behaviour and possible legislation and enforcement of cyclists on the roads.  

In a Facebook post on Friday, Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, who chairs the Active Mobility Advisory Panel, said that road safety was a shared responsibility among all road users. 

“We hope to see more public education efforts to enhance awareness and clarity of existing rules and regulations among different road users,” said Assoc Prof Faishal, who is also Minister of State for Home Affairs and National Development. 

The panel said that the recommendations, if accepted by the Government, should be rolled out as soon as possible while factoring in a “transition period” to raise public awareness and improve clarity on new rules and guidelines before enforcement starts. 

Related topics

cyclists safety transport Active Mobility Advisory Panel

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