210km of cycling paths in 16 towns by 2020

LTA identifying areas to test on-road lanes, piloting bike-sharing in 2015
Royston Sim Straits Times 14 Mar 13;

CYCLISTS can look forward to another 90km of cycling paths here, bringing the total network of such dedicated off-road paths to 210km in 16 HDB towns by 2020.

And there are plans for every town to have a comprehensive cycling network eventually.

This will allow residents to cycle to the MRT station or to buy groceries at the neighbourhood centre. Work is under way to build paths in seven towns.

Transport Parliamentary Secretary Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim said the priority will be to build off-road paths, which "provide a safe cycling environment for a larger group of cyclists".

He has asked the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to prioritise plugging short gaps in the cycling network, such as connecting existing park connectors to the nearby MRT station at Sengkang. This is so cyclists need not go onto the road or footpath when riding to the MRT station.

He pledged that cycling paths will be well integrated with park connectors in the long term.

The LTA is also studying the possibility of building cycling paths at major industrial estates for workers to use.

Moving to commuting by bicycle, Dr Faishal said he supports the idea of allowing foldable bicycles on public transport during the morning pre-peak window.

"This will enable cycling to effectively close the last-mile connectivity gap for trips to work," he said, adding that the challenge lay in finding the right cut-off timing in the morning. The idea will be carefully studied, he said.

Several MPs, including Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC MP Teo Ser Luck, raised the issue of safety for cyclists yesterday.

Dr Faishal said more signs alerting motorists to the presence of cyclists will be put up by the middle of this year on popular routes.

The LTA will also launch a guidebook on safe cycling tips in a few months' time. To encourage more cyclists to dismount at crossings, new markings at zebra-crossings will be on trial at three locations in Tampines.

Responding to calls for an on-road cycling lane pilot, Dr Faishal said Singapore may not want to follow other countries' examples due to the heavy traffic situation here.

He added: "On-road cycling is risky, and no one, young or old, who is not confident of cycling on the road, should do so."

He noted that on-road cycling lanes would "also affect the movement of buses, require the removal of street-side parking and expose cyclists to turning traffic" if lanes are not properly designed.

Still, he said the LTA is identifying roads where these issues could be overcome, and studying if it is feasible to try out on-road cycling lanes along those roads.

Many cyclists have been requesting for more to be done for those who cycle on the roads.

Dr Faishal also said the LTA plans to conduct a pilot bicycle-sharing scheme in the Jurong Lake District in 2015, which will have a network of cycling paths by then.

Proposals from the industry will be requested in the coming months. He added that bicycle-sharing can be piloted in other cycling towns if there is interest from the community.

In terms of bicycle facilities, another 600 bicycle racks will be built at 12 more MRT stations by the third quarter of next year.

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