Singapore needs 'national commitment' to cycling: MP Irene Ng

Monica Kotwani Channel NewsAsia 3 Nov 14;

SINGAPORE: The Republic needs a national commitment to cycling, as well as a comprehensive approach in order to catch up with other cycling cities. MP for Tampines GRC Irene Ng said this on Monday (Nov 3) after she filed an adjournment motion in Parliament.

Ms Ng said bicycles now account for about one per cent of trips in Singapore. She said that there is scope to expand this, proposing to increase this to five per cent by 2020.

However, it would require many barriers to be overcome, including improvements needed in infrastructure, legislation and education, said Ms Ng.

In terms of infrastructure, Ms Ng said that a good urban cycling network must consist of measures such as cycling-friendly junctions and streets that are designed to slow down speed of motorists, as well as a coherent policy on shared paths and footpaths.

She said this is because, even if Singapore builds segregated cycle paths with limited space in the country, cyclists will at some point have to go on shared roads and footpaths.


Responding to Ms Ng, Parliamentary Secretary for Transport, Assoc Prof Faishal Ibrahim said the Land Transport Authority has constructed off-road, dedicated cycling path networks in seven Housing Development Board (HDB) towns since 2010.

Prof Faishal said the aim is to build cycling path networks in every HDB town by 2030. He added that the Government will look at possibly bringing forward the completion date of these networks. He also said the building of bicycle parking facilities will be ramped up.

Prof Faishal said the Government is committed to making cycling an integral part of living and mobility and will update the national cycling plan even more comprehensively.

- CNA/ek

Singapore needs integrated cycling framework, says MP
SIAU MING EN Today Online 4 Nov 14;

SINGAPORE — Planning for a national cycling framework should not be done in insolation, said Member of Parliament (Tampines GRC) Irene Ng in Parliament yesterday (Nov 3), as the Republic tries to keep pace with more people adopting cycling as their mode of transport.

Speaking during an adjournment motion, she noted the “image problem” faced by cyclists among pedestrians and motorists, who believe that cyclists should not be riding on the roads or footpaths.

“The whole set-up, as it is, pits cyclists and pedestrians and cars against one another. If the situation is allowed to persist, the negative attitudes of motorists and pedestrians towards cyclists would harden. This would sour the ground for any government plan to promote cycling as a sustainable mode of transport,” Ms Ng said.

Planning for cycling cannot be addressed in isolation, she noted. While there have been separate initiatives for cycling, she said it is hard to make real headway unless cycling policies are integrated with transportation, town-planning, road safety, education and enforcement policies, for instance.

Calling for an integrated cycling framework and greater coordination between agencies, Ms Ng also drew examples from some of the issues that surfaced in Tampines — Singapore’s first cycling town.

While cyclists are banned from cycling on footpaths under the Road Traffic Act, Tampines is the only town that is exempted from the ban. Instead, it has a code that requires cyclists to keep left, give way to pedestrians at all times, obey traffic laws and signs, among other things.

But enforcing the cycling rules in Tampines had not been easy, given the lack of clarity and coordination among agencies, said Ms Ng. For example, it was unclear which agency should take action against reckless cycling on shared paths. As a result, the town council hired the auxiliary police to enforce the rules.

Last month, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan wrote on his blog that the Government wants cycling to go beyond the realm of recreation and become a “viable transport option” for short trips.

In his response yesterday, Parliamentary Secretary for Transport Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim noted the authorities’ progress on making Singapore more bicycle-friendly, such as having built close to 14,000 bicycle parking lots at all MRT stations.

Acknowledging that the rules and norms of cycling are “not entirely clear to the average person” today, Associate Professor Faishal said clear and consistent rules and norms for cycling conduct and behaviour would have to be built.

“Indeed, we need to start thinking about sharing space between pedestrians and cyclists, if we are to move ahead on cycling. Some degree of accommodation from various stakeholders, including cyclists, will be necessary,” he added.

While dedicated cycling paths and more signalised bicycle crossings will be built, the possibility of sharing footpaths and signalised crossings between pedestrians and cyclists has to be studied carefully, noted Prof Faishal.

Members of the public and various stakeholders will be consulted in the coming months to see if a clear and consistent set of cycling rules and norms can be agreed upon, he added.