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Transport workers' union calls for more enforcement against errant cyclists in bus lanes

SINGAPORE — A transport workers' union has called for more enforcement against errant cyclists using bus lanes, shortly after the Ministry of Transport (MOT) announced new rules for cyclists on Wednesday (Oct 20).

Transport workers' union calls for more enforcement against errant cyclists in bus lanes
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SINGAPORE — A transport workers' union has called for more enforcement against errant cyclists using bus lanes, shortly after the Ministry of Transport (MOT) announced new rules for cyclists on Wednesday (Oct 20).

Cyclists are currently allowed to cycle in bus lanes, but must ride in a single file during bus lane operational hours under the Road Traffic Act.

Yet bus captains have given feedback that "they commonly see cyclists riding two, and sometimes even three, abreast during bus lane operational hours", the National Transport Workers' Union (NTWU) said in a statement.

The union also said that it "strongly discourages" cyclists from using bus lanes during operational hours, pointing to a higher risk of accidents.

Under recommendations submitted by a panel, motorists are advised to provide at least 1.5m of safety distance when overtaking cyclists. NTWU said this was a "useful reminder" and already included in the training for bus captains.

"However, with the average width of buses at 2.5m, and the minimum width of our roads at 3m, buses will need to encroach onto the next lane to overtake cyclists" while observing the recommended safety distance, said the union.

"As it is common for buses to have to overtake the same peloton of cyclists multiple times, the repeated overtaking and encroachment into the adjacent lane will increase the risks of road traffic accidents happening, particularly during peak hours."

Cyclists are "one of the most vulnerable" road users, and bus captains have given feedback that they were seeing more cyclists on the roads since the Covid-19 pandemic, said NTWU.

The union cited Traffic Police statistics identifying 572 traffic accidents involving bicycles last year, a 25 per cent increase from the 459 accidents in 2019.

It called on cyclists to avoid using bus lanes during operational hours when traffic is heavy, "for their own safety".

NTWU also asked them to refrain from cycling on bus lanes in groups, as this made it more difficult for bus captains to overtake the cyclists.

Speaking to the media on Wednesday, Senior Minister of State for Transport Chee Hong Tat noted that SMRT Buses included various scenarios involving cyclists on the road in its driving simulation system, so as to train bus captains to better handle these scenarios.

He added that NTWU had shared bus drivers' concerns about safely passing cyclists on the road while driving, especially during bus lane hours.

The new guidelines announced by MOT follow a six-month review of existing regulations by the Active Mobility Advisory Panel (AMAP). NTWU said it fully supported the AMAP's recommendations for safer on-road cycling.

"Notwithstanding our support for the new rules, the union hopes that road cyclists would take additional precautions for their own safety, particularly during peak travel periods," said NTWU.

From 2022, cyclists on roads must keep to groups no greater than five bicycles in length, roughly the length of a bus.

This means cycling groups on roads will be capped at five riders in single file, or 10 if cycling two abreast.

For safety and visibility, cyclists will still be allowed to cycle two abreast on roads with two or more lanes. On single-lane roads and in bus lanes during bus lane operational hours, cyclists will also have to continue riding in single file.

Fines for errant cyclists will also be doubled from S$75 currently to S$150. CNA

For more stories like this, visit cna.asia

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Ministry of Transport cyclists transport road safety

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