Thursday, December 24, 2009

NTU Bike Rally 2010 - Sun 21 Feb 2010

The much-awaited 128km round-island NTU Bike Rally has been announced to be on Sunday 21st February 2010. A new feature in next year's race is an optional 168km route - two additional loops to Tuas and the Causeway which will be open for a short window to the faster cyclists.

Many NTU students participate in the rally using rented bikes and pedal under a hot sun for 128km - that makes for a tough challenge but also lots of company along the entire stretch. The feeling of accomplishment for these cyclists is indeed considerable.

Bike Rally 2010

The registration fees are $15 for NTU Student/ Staff/ Alumni, and $23 for members of the public. Registration closes on 7th February 2010. See:

Thursday, December 17, 2009

ST 14 Dec 2009 - "Tampines set to be first cycling town"

"Tampines set to be first cycling town," by Jennani Durai. The Straits Times, 14 Dec 2009 Successful trial and new infrastructure pave the way for shared footpaths.

Tampines GRC MPs (from left) Masagos Zulkifli, Ong Kian Min, Sin Boon Ann, Mah Bow Tan, Irene Ng and North East district mayor Teo Ser Luck waving to say 'thank you' during the launch of the Tampines Safe Cycling Clinic yesterday morning. The two-hour clinics, conducted by volunteer cycling wardens, will teach cyclists traffic rules and cycling etiquette. -- ST Photo: Ashleigh Sim

"FROM March 1 next year, footways in Tampines will be shared by pedestrians and cyclists alike as it becomes Singapore's first cycling town.

A two-year trial to see if this could be safely done has been successful, the Tampines MPs said yesterday.

The Members of Parliament said the trial found that very few cyclists rode recklessly, and a majority of residents - 53 per cent in 2007 and 65 per cent this year - supported the sharing of walkways.

The Group Representation Constituency (GRC) has been working with the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and the Traffic Police since May 2007 to assess the feasibility of making Tampines a model cycling town, said MP Masagos Zulkifli.

'Cycling is an environmentally friendly and healthy mode of transport and Tampines, being a compact town, is an ideal choice,' he noted.

With Tampines MRT station as a focal point, the farthest block is only 2km away. He said: 'With facilities, schools and shops in close proximity, more and more residents are choosing bicycles as their preferred mode of transport to travel about in Tampines.'

The trial was sparked by a 2005 parliamentary debate in which Tampines GRC MP Irene Ng called for cyclists to be allowed to ride on footways, in the light of an increasing number of them having been involved in fatal accidents on busy roads.

But the decision was conditional on three key features - infrastructure, education and enforcement - being implemented together, said Mr Masagos.

The GRC began widening footways to accommodate both pedestrians and cyclists. The town council also constructed two new stretches of bicycle paths, and the LTA will be building 6.9km of bicycle paths in the first half of next year.

Yesterday also marked the launch of the Tampines Safe Cycling Clinics, funded by the North East Community Development Council. The two-hour clinics, conducted by volunteer cycling wardens, will teach cyclists traffic rules and cycling etiquette.

The clinics are an initiative of North East district mayor Teo Ser Luck, who set up the Safe Cycling Task Force for the Tampines project. He lost a friend, Mr Sylvester Ang, to a cycling accident in 2004. 'His wife said to me, don't let his death go to waste,' he recalled.

As a further check, Mr Masagos said the by-laws would be amended to allow the Tampines Town Council to hand out fines of between $50 and $1,000 to errant cyclists. Reckless cyclists can also be taken to court and fined up to $5,000.

The by-laws will ensure that errant cyclists do not ruin the system for the majority of safe cyclists, said Minister for National Development and Tampines MP Mah Bow Tan.

Residents hope this will be the case.

'Footpaths are where you would feel safe from cars, but if you add cyclists to the paths, you have to always be alert,' said student Penelope Teo, 22.

But Mr Mah is confident that conflicts between cyclists and pedestrians will be minimised in time. 'The message we want to give cyclists is that the pedestrians have the right of way. If you want to behave like a motorist, go on the road,' he said."
--- end ---

To read more, see the older articles here about Tampines - link and the ST Discussion Forum - link.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


"Bicycle-friendly Copenhagen a model for big cities," by Henriette Jacobsen. Reuters, 14 Dec 2009.

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - The world is gathered in Copenhagen for the U.N. climate summit, but Denmark"s bicycle-friendly capital has also given its name to a movement of cities trying to find a kinder way to commute.

Nearly 40 percent of Copenhagen's population cycle to work or school on ubiquitous paved cycle paths. Many residents take to their bikes year-round, braving rain and snow through the winter in a city where the bicycles outnumber the people.

"Only when there's half a meter of snow outside would I consider using the underground," said 24-year old student Louise Kristensen.

Amsterdam and Beijing too are known for their bicycles, but the Danish capital is where urban planners from around the world have been looking for ways to get their people out of cars and up onto bikes, an effort known as Copenhagenisation.

"We're trying to strike a balance in our transportation network which means having streets that can accommodate everyone," New York Transport Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said.

Klaus Bondam, Copenhagen's technical and environmental chief, calls himself a "mega cyclist" and says the bike's popularity stems partly from high taxes on cars which meant working-class Danes could not afford to drive in the 1930s and '40s.

"Today you'll meet everybody on the bicycle lanes -- women and men, rich and poor, old and young," Bondam said.

The municipality has during the last three years invested more than 250 million crowns ($49.42 million) in bicycle lanes and to make the traffic safer for bicyclists.

City Hall has also made a rule that when it snows, the bike paths get cleared before car lanes.

Today around a third of the population drive cars to work or study, another third take public transport, while 37 percent cycle -- a figure the city aims to boost to 50 percent by 2015.

Bondam said there are many benefits when citizens choose bicycles over cars: pollution and noise decline, public health improves, and more people on bikes or walking creates a sense of safety in the city.

Fewer parked cars leaves more space for playgrounds, parks, shopping areas and other useful public amenities.

Bondam said car traffic should be limited, though a car-less society is probably impossible. However, cars that cannot be avoided should be electric rather than run on fossil fuels.


From 70 to 80 percent of the world's carbon emissions, blamed by scientists for global warming, come from big cities.

As more and more people have become concerned with the climate, officials from around the world have come to Copenhagen to learn about its bike culture.

But Danish architect and professor Jan Gehl, who coined the term Copenhagenisaton, says the concept is broader than that and entails cities becoming lively, safe, sustainable and healthy.

For the past decade Gehl has helped cities around the world, including New York, Seattle, San Francisco, London, Stockholm, Oslo, Melbourne, Sydney and Amman, to "Copenhagenise."

"Depending on culture, region, climate and topography, there are good solutions for every city," Gehl said.

He noted that in most parts of the world car travel has only been common after the Second World War.

"Sixty years is a short time in the greater perspective, so people should be able to change their habits once again," the architect said.

New York has initiatives to improve the look, feel and mobility of its streets, according to Sadik-Khan.

For instance, in the last three years, the city has installed 200 miles of bicycle lanes to boost safety for cyclists and pedestrians and has transformed old railway land into public spaces to improve the quality of life in residential and business districts.

"The response has been tremendous, and we hope to keep the momentum going by expanding it next year," Sadik-Khan said.

From 2008-2009 the city saw a 26 percent increase in bike commuting, and a recent survey in Times Square and Herald Square found that 93 percent said the plazas made the area a better place and one to which they wanted to return.

Gehl said that making cities better for pedestrians and cyclists is even smarter in poor, fast-growing developing countries and cities because it is cost-effective.

"It's a good solution for the climate, the economy and the poor," he said.

Though many officials want citizens on bikes for climate reasons, back in Copenhagen, Kristensen said: "Biking is just the easiest way to get around here."

($1=5.059 Danish Crown)

Thanks to WildSingapore for the alert!

Safe cycling

Adrian Loo took this photo during our recent ride to Changi Village for breakfast. Despite a long hiatus from cycling, all this gear is a standard part of my cycling kit so there was no trouble assembling them the night before.

Cycling lights
Photo by Adrian Loo

My rear light, a fairly new Cateye TL-LD610, refused to work when batteries were once again inserted, but happily I had a Sigma Cuberider to take its place - while Singapore streets are quite well-lit, the bright, blinking red lights alert drivers to your presence.

Updated to include a few missing items and a comment about distance to kerb. I should really add side and front-views (have them somewhere) and update this further.

Recent cyclists accidents' revives discussion

"3 accidents in a day: Cyclists concerned," by Mavis Toh. The Straits Times, 12 Dec 2009. Drivers say cyclists ignore rules, but the latter say motorists are impatient

THREE accidents involving cyclists on Thursday have reopened a longstanding debate between motorists and cyclists over the issue of safe cycling on roads here.

A 35-year-old cyclist died after he was hit by a lorry in Bedok South Road.

In Tampines Street 81, a 64-year-old cyclist was seriously injured when he was involved in a collision with a lorry.

Another accident in Clemenceau Avenue saw a motorcyclist seriously injured after he was in a collision with a cyclist, who escaped with abrasions.

Police are investigating all three accidents. But the debate has already begun.

Motorists are frustrated with cyclists who they say road hog and switch lanes abruptly, often without regard for traffic behind them. The cyclists, however, say motorists are impatient and often drive too close to them and too fast, especially when overtaking.

In the first nine months of this year, there were 15 fatal accidents involving cyclists. There were 22 such fatal accidents each in 2007 and last year.

Former national cyclist Kenneth Tan, who cycles daily to his workplace in Thomson Road from his Woodlands home, said the hour-long ride is often dangerous.

A year ago, he was flung off his bicycle when the passenger door of a truck was suddenly opened as he was cycling past. He was warded for three days with serious injuries to his arm.

'The bus drivers are more considerate, but other drivers now tend to go faster and come very close when they overtake,' said Mr Tan, 42.

But marketing manager Tanya Tan, 34, said drivers were not always to blame.

She recalled an incident two weeks ago when a man in his 40s cycled on the centre lane of a three-lane road in Toa Payoh at less than 20kmh. 'All the cars had to slow down and there were several near misses,' said Ms Tan, who drives to work every day.

Under the Road Traffic (Bicycles) Rules, cyclists should ride close to the left-hand edge of the road so as not to obstruct vehicles.

In the first nine months of this year, the Traffic Police issued more than 1,300 summonses to cyclists flouting traffic rules, compared to 471 summonses for the whole of last year.

Most were fined for failing to ride in an orderly manner or cycling on footpaths. They were also fined for changing lanes without due care, failing to keep a proper lookout, and failing to give way to traffic with the right of way.

Many of the drivers and cyclists The Straits Times spoke to were also unclear about the traffic rules concerning bicycles. Several drivers said cyclists should get off the roads and ride on footpaths instead. But it is illegal for them to do so.

To ensure safety, several cyclists suggested that a cycling lane be introduced. Said Mr Adrian Mok of the Safe Cycling Task Force: 'We can mark out smaller lanes on existing roads or widen pedestrian paths for cycling.'

But a Land Transport Authority spokesman said that, given Singapore's land constraints and the need to optimise available land space to meet the needs of all road users and pedestrians, it was not feasible to provide dedicated lanes for bicycles on the road.

Currently, there are cycling tracks off the road in five towns - Tampines, Yishun, Sembawang, Pasir Ris and Taman Jurong.

Mr Tan Jin Thong, president of the National Safety Council of Singapore, wants to make it mandatory for cyclists to wear helmets and abide by bicycle rules.

Additional reporting by Linus Lin

"Save lives by having separate lanes," letter by Daniel Chan. The Straits Times Forum page, 14 Dec 2009.

"LAST Saturday's report highlighting accidents involving cyclists ('3 accidents in a day: Cyclists concerned') once again brings the issue of safe cycling to the fore.

There were 15 fatal accidents involving cyclists in the first nine months of this year, and one wonders how many more fatal accidents there must be before the authorities sit up and take notice.

While cyclists do not threaten the safety of motorists, the lack of space for motorists to pass cyclists safely only adds to the frustration of driving. Also, a lack of policing has allowed some cyclists to flaunt traffic rules at their own whim and fancy.

Clearly, something must be done to accommodate the increase in numbers of both cars and cyclists on the roads. As the statutory board that spearheads land transport developments in Singapore, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) must take cognisance of both the safety of cyclists and the frustrations of motorists.

It is no longer tenable nor persuasive for the LTA to reiterate that Singapore's land constraints make it unfeasible to provide cycling lanes. Cities such as London and New York, which are as densely populated as Singapore, have successfully introduced cycling lanes. The benefits are obvious: Traffic flow will not be impeded by slow bicycles, while cyclists will be shielded from dangerous traffic. Other countries like France have made it illegal for cars to overtake cyclists without a gap of 1.5m.

The experiences of other countries make it clear that positive action can be taken to better accommodate both cyclists and motorists in Singapore. LTA's unwillingness to take action has frustrated all road users."

Daniel Chan

"Cyclist recalls close calls on the road," letter by James Wong. The Straits Times Forum page, 15 Dec 2009.

"I REFER to yesterday's letter by Mr Daniel Chan ('Save lives by having separate lanes'), regarding safety of cyclists on Singapore roads and the number of fatal accidents involving cyclists.

I am an avid cyclist who cycles once or twice a week. Last Saturday morning, I was almost run down by a taxi driver.

I was cycling along East Coast Road at 6.15am. Suddenly, a taxi travelling in the opposite direction turned right into my path to pick some passengers standing on my side of the road.

Had I not slowed down to avoid the taxi, I would have been knocked down. I confronted the taxi driver but instead of admitting his mistake, he challenged me to a fight, all the time shouting at me that I had no right to be on the road.

I have had a few close calls on the road and most of the time, taxi drivers have been the culprits. They stop suddenly to pick up a fare, make illegal U-turns, or cut two or three lanes to drop or pick up a passenger. Bus and truck drivers are the other bullies.

My bicycle has a bright flashing headlight and tail light. There is no way I cannot be noticed. It is just that most motorists feel cyclists do not belong on the road and have no right at intersections.

Many cyclists use Changi Coast Road on weekends. Although there are many speed regulation strips along this stretch, many motorists use this road to test the speed limit of their cars.

I hope the Traffic Police will not wait until more cyclists are killed before they install speed cameras there.

I also suggest that the Traffic Police and the Land Transport Authority put up more conspicuous signs to remind motorist to look out and give way to cyclists. Some signs are already there but they are not conspicuous enough.

Cyclists also share some of the blame. Some cycle at night without proper lights and do not follow the Highway Code. Traffic Police should make it mandatory for bicycles to have headlights and tail lights all the time, with a stiff penalty for failure."

James Wong

Traffic Police reminds cyclists, bikers to be safe

Traffic Police reminds cyclists, bikers to be safe - Today Online, 15 Dec 2009.

"SINGAPORE - The deaths of several cyclists and bikers in the past two weeks has spurred a reminder from Traffic Police for road users to be vigilant.

On Saturday, two best friends died when their motorcycle was hit by a car along Bukit Batok Road. On Dec 10, a cyclist died after being hit by a lorry along Bedok South Road. The same day, another cyclist died after being hit by a lorry along Tampines Street 81.

Accidents involving cyclists and motorbike riders can result in dire consequences, Traffic Police said. The public is reminded to observe road safety including keeping left unless overtaking, slowing down when approaching a bend, not weaving in and out of traffic, and to always be alert.

Proper riding gear, preferably brightly-coloured attire, should always be worn and helmets must be strapped securely."

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Cycling for a Change

ST's Jeanette Wang "pledges to ditch her car for a bicycle to help fight climate change."

"Two wheels for a change," by Jeanette Wang. ST's Homeground, 01 Dec 2009.

Excerpt -
We sit and read about nations and what they are or are not doing to help the situation. But what are each of us doing individually to contribute to positive change?

Sure, I've been making a conscientious effort to reduce, reuse and recycle: Take my own bag to the supermarket, resist printing unnecessary e-mails, collect plastic bottles for recycling.

But what more can I do?

That question led me to my decision to give up my car and commute by bicycle, at least until Christmas. That resolution began today. As I type this there is a bicycle parked in my cubicle and cycling clothing and shoes hanging under my desk.

It's not all about global warming, though. Cutting greenhouse gases can also be a boon to human health by reducing deaths from cancer, strokes and heart disease, according to a report by The Lancet journal published last week.

Walking and cycling more, and driving less are among the easiest ways people can lower the output of CO2 and methane gas that also curb the global disease burden, said the study. Other easy ways: switch to cleaner-burning stoves and reduce meat and dairy consumption.


Follow her blog over the next 24 days as she documents her experiences of bicycle commuting! Some of the comments from readers are helpful too. Link

  • "Two Wheels for a Change" (01 Dec 2009) - link
  • "The logistics of bicycle commuting" (07 Dec 2009)- link
  • "More cyclists, fewer accidents" (15 Dec 2009) - link
  • "Ride more, drive less in 2010" (24 Dec 2009) - link

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Green Wheelers pre-Climate Conference Ride, 29 Nov 2009

Green Wheelers

From the GreenWheelers site:

" We hope to encourage more Singaporeans to consider utilizing traveling alternatives that are environmentally-friendly - why should we remain ignorant of OUR Planet’s plea for help and continue polluting the environment with greenhouse gasses with our cars when there are greener alternatives?

Considering the size of Singapore, it should not be a challenge to adopt such alternatives - people in larger nations are now willing to adopt these green traveling habits despite having to travel over long distances.

What is Singapore waiting for?

Perhaps it's the weather, perhaps it's the worry of theft, or perhaps it's just about the hassle of bringing a change of clothes.

In conjunction with the Climate Conference in Copenhagen, G.Wheelers will be organising a public activity on 29 November 2009, a week ahead of the meeting in Denmark.

Come join us the Xtreme SkatePark at East Coast Park at 2 p.m. on Sunday, 29 November 2009, where we will share our cycling and urban skating tips. We want to encourage minimising the usage of motorised vehicles. Be part of this meaningful event!

Link to facebook page.

Go G.Wheelers!

OCBC Cycling in Singapore 2010

OCBC Cycle Singapore 2010

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Eight Parks in western Singapore now fully connected (Second PCN Loop)

Eight Parks in western Singapore now fully connected - Western Adventure PCN is the 2nd loop of park connectors to be completed; NParks media release, 25 Oct 2009 (excerpts)

Singapore, 25 October 2009 - Residents in western Singapore can look forward to a wide array of exciting recreational experiences, with the completion of the Western Adventure Park Connector Network (PCN). The 23km PCN joins eight parks in western Singapore, namely Choa Chu Kang Park, Villa Verde Park, Zhenghua Park, Dairy Farm Nature Park, Bukit Batok Nature Park, Bukit Batok Town Park, Limbang Park and Bukit Panjang Park.

It is the second loop of park connectors to be completed, after the Eastern Coastal PCN in December 2007. Five more loops of park connectors are in the pipeline. Once completed, the park connectors will form a green matrix, connecting major parks and nature sites and providing users with a choice of landscapes and distances for recreation.

Diverse range of adventures and experiences along PCN

The Western Adventure PCN offers a diverse range of recreational experiences, to cater to all types of users, from adventure-seekers to nature lovers and families. Some of the activities include:

For Adventure-Seekers
  • Mountain biking at Zhenghua Park and Dairy Farm Nature Park
  • Rock Climbing at Dairy Farm Quarry
  • Hiking at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and Zhenghua Park

For Nature Enthusiasts & Photographers
  • Scenic lookouts at Bukit Batok Town Park ('Little Guilin') and Bukit Batok Nature Park
  • Bird Watching & photography along Bukit Panjang Park Connector, Zhenghua Park and Bukit Batok Nature Park.
  • Butterfly spotting along Pang Sua Park Connector

For Families
  • Regional parks, such as Choa Chu Kang Park, offer family-oriented facilities such as playgrounds and fitness corners
  • Learning about a slice of Singapore's history along Hillview Park Connector (where the Ford Motor factory is a short distance away)
  • Wallace Education Centre and nature trail at Dairy Farm Nature Park
  • Leisure activities along Pang Sua Park Connector

Rich biodiversity along Western Adventure PCN

The Western Adventure PCN is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, a result of the 550 species of butterfly and birds-attracting trees which have been planted at various stretches along the PCN. They include Pang Sua, Choa Chu Kang, Choa Chu Kang North and Bukit Panjang Park Connectors.

Over 10 species of butterflies and 50 species of birds have been sighted along the PCN. The birds include the singing Zebra Dove; the Tiger Shrike, a winter visitor with tiger-like black bars pattern; and the Oriental White-eye which is characterised by a white ring around the eye. To promote awareness of the rich biodiversity of birds, NParks will be working with Nature Society to conduct bird watching activities for Singapore residents at the PCN.

PCN Programme on Track

Implemented by NParks, the PCN is an island-wide network of linear open spaces around major residential areas, linking up parks and nature sites in Singapore. It brings people closer to parks and nature areas, enhancing recreational opportunities for all and is an important part of our plans to evolve Singapore into a "City in a Garden."

To date, over 110km of park connectors have been completed, with 63km currently in construction. The PCN implementation programme is on track. By 2015, NParks aims to develop a 300km island-wide network of green corridors around the island.

PCN Friends - Active Citizenry in Action

To keep PCN users updated and engaged on activities and latest happenings along our park connectors, NParks has formed a group in late 2008 called 'PCN Friends'. NParks has sought feedback from the group members on ensuring that there is sufficient signage along our park connectors. Selected group members were also invited to test-out selective stretches of the Western Adventure PCN earlier this year.

Since 2007, NParks has establishing a common identity for PCN to guide and inform users through standardised signboards, directional signs, PCN streetprints and destination markers.

Thanks to WildSingapore!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Traffic policing for bicycle safety ON THE ROADS (video)

This video includes fantastic advice for traffic police on enforcing road rules in ways that promote cyclists' safety.

It targets both driver and cyclist behaviour.

Traffic Enforcement for Bicyclist Safety from Chicago Bicycle Program on Vimeo.

Unfortunately our road rules in Singapore lack many of the bicycle-friendly features that are present in Chicago.

Despite all the obvious differences, this video would be a great model for Singapore's authorities to think about if they wanted to push for safer on-road cycling here in Singapore.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Mass Cycling event for Green Transport Week

As part of Green Transport Week, a Mass Cycling event will see cyclists ride down from ECP and WCP to SMU on Sat 22 Aug 2009.

GTW: Mass cycling

Find out more at:

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Beware of bike theft?

The figures for "theft and related crimes" in 2009, in comparison to the same period for 2008, reflect a ?mere 2.5% increase [see SPF figures]. However, Today's reporter has chosen to highlight bicycles in his article.

BIcycle theft has long been known to Singapore cyclists with Kembangan receiving special mention in this blog and a a reference to a 2005 initiative to combat bicycle theft. So it's been going on for along time and as a result, cyclists like me never take my eyes off my bicycle, nor will I lock keep it outside my house in a car park.

This report, in deciding to highlight the issue once again, should help to keep us on guard!

"Lock up your bikes - theft is on the rise," by Leong Wee Keat. Today Online, 07 Aug 2009.

ONE cyclist removed his mountain-bike's saddle and seat-post. Another cyclist covered his bicycle with a piece of cloth. Both locked their prize rides outside their homes. And both had them stolen in the first six months of this year.

The number of thefts rose slightly in the first half, a fact the police attribute to the economic downturn. There were 10,280 cases, or 246 more than in the same period last year. The increase in petty thefts notably involved items such as bikes, handphones, accessories and toiletries being stolen for personal use or to be sold off for cash. Bicycles, for instance, were often nicked from common areas such as void decks, corridors and at MRT stations.

In fact, on online forums, it is common to see users posting photos of their missing rides and appealing for information. Some have claimed their stolen bicycles, or at least their parts, surfaced at second-hand bazaars.

How to deter bicycle thieves? The police advise, for instance, locking the bike to a fixed permanent structure such as an anchored rack, and not resting the locking device on the ground thieves could use a hammer to smash it.

One crime-fighting initiative, rolled out by the Bukit Timah Neighbourhood Police Centre, imprints a registration number on the bicycle's body using a tamper-proof tape. This has helped officers to determine ownership, deter theft and return the stolen property to its rightful owner.

But such petty thefts aside - and contrary to fears that the overall crime rate would rise along with desperation levels during a recession - the overall crime rate in the first six months actually fell by 1.3 per cent. Though the number of housebreaking incidences rose, the figure is still the second lowest recorded in 15 years for first-half statistics.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Survey on bicycle lanes for Singapore

Via a survey by a Singaporean student at LSE:
If you live or have lived in Singapore, it’d be great if you could do the survey. Whether you cycle or not, I’d like to hear from you. Got 15 mins to spare? Click here.

Monday, June 15, 2009

More numbers on safety in numbers

On 6 June I wrote about the safety-in-numbers effect.

There are some more numbers corroborating the effect from London, Copenhagen and the Netherlands. See this post on the "How we drive" blog.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Unsafe ignorance versus dangerous ignorance

A survey by the AXA insurance company paints a picture of ignorance and recklessness among Singapore motorists.

The finding that struck me most was that only 23% knew the speed limit that applies on most ordinary streets and roads (the ones that don't have speed signs). Do you know the answer? ** Most thought that the answer was 60 km/hr.

This was reported today by the Business Times and the Today newspaper (here and here). AXA surveyed over 500 Singapore motorists, including around 100 taxi drivers.

Large percentages also admitted to various dangerous acts, such as:
  • Driving more than 10kmh above the speed limit (63 per cent)
  • Tailgating (47 per cent)
  • Overtaking, turning or switching lanes without signalling (46 per cent)

So few Singapore motorists have the high moral ground to attack bicycle users for their bad behaviour. Yet we do see many forum letters about bad behaviour by bicycle users in Singapore (like this one yesterday). Many online comments on these letters tend to demonize cyclists.

Of course, many cyclists ARE woefully ignorant of even the basics of safe cycling. But think ... What is the main result of unsafe cycling?

Answer: injured or dead cyclists are the main result. Cyclists are the main victims of their own ignorance or recklessness.

I don't want to deny that inconsiderate or negligent cycling can pose some hazard to others, especially to pedestrians. But we need a sense of proportion about the danger from bicycles. It is tiny compared with the danger from motor vehicles. Yes, bad behaviour by cyclists is a problem. But it is a problem primarily for the cyclists themselves.

Let us admit that BOTH motorists and bicycle users in Singapore have a frightening lack of awareness about road safety and road rules.

But while ignorant cyclists
make themselves unsafe, ignorant drivers make the roads dangerous for everyone.

** Answer: 50 km/h is the speed limit on ordinary streets and roads without explicit speed markings. Did you get it right? If motorists stuck to this speed cycling would be much safer here.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Safety in Numbers

Cycling seems rather dangerous in Singapore. So are we crazy or irresponsible to be promoting more bicycle use?

I think not. The more people use bicycles the safer it will become for each individual bicycle user.

New York City cyclists seem to be getting the benefits of safety in numbers after some years of increases in the amount of cycling (and some effort to make it safer). This image comes via Streetsblog.

That there is safety in numbers for cyclists and pedestrians was the (more scientific) finding of a 2003 paper in Injury Prevention journal by Peter Jacobsen, which found:
A motorist is less likely to collide with a person walking and bicycling if more people walk or bicycle. Policies that increase the numbers of people walking and bicycling appear to be an effective route to improving the safety of people walking and bicycling.

The safety in numbers argument reassures us that we are not being irresponsible to promote more cycling.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Green Transport @ Envirofest 2009

Chu Wa with his JZ88 foldable bike next to the Singapore Environment Council's booth at Envirofest @ HDB Hub, Toa Payoh, 23-24 May 2009.

Thanks to boonsong for the photo!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ride of Silence Singapore - impressions from a car window

The Ride of Silence Singapore was held yesterday, Wed 20th May 2009 with cyclists gathered at Merlion Park at 7pm. I was unable to join them but instead observed the half the ride route from a car window. Several of my friends from Zendogs and Cycling in Singapore were riding do I knew I could exchange impressions with them later.

For me the ride meant commemorating Kroxy, an NTU student who was senselessly killed in 2003. He was the last man of a group riding back to NTU and was tragically run over at Jalan Bahar by a drunk driver just before the group turned into the relative safety of NTU.

I never knew Alvin Boey personally but he was a promoter of cycling in Singapore like many of us. I always think of him when I ride NTU's Round Island Bike Rally and each time I pass Jalan Bahar on the way to Lm Chu Kang or Sungei Buloh. The Ride of Silence is a good way to commemorate his spirit and to me it s a reminder that cyclists and motorists need to work at sharing the road safely.

The rest of this was posted last night on my personal blog and is reproduced here for the record. You can read all the posts on Ride of Silence (Paul Barter, Yap Chi Wei and mine) by clicking the "ride of silence" label. See also other impressions by:
  • mrbrown,
  • Azam's life,
  • wang writes.

    Meanwhile congratulations to the organiser for bring this event to reality!

    My friends went down after work to Merlion Park today for the Ride of Silence Singapore. They reported a large turnout and cyclists were released in groups of about 10. We dropped in on the cyclists just as they left Merlion Park to thread through the city before heading out west to loop around Holland Village. 

    The route required them to make a few lane shifts and navigate through small, busy roads (see route). By Holland Road, the groups found the space and momentum to be tighter. The video clips below show two groups riding up the Holland Road slope before they head down through Orchard Road. Note how the first group is more disciplined about keeping to a single file. It was nice to see the groups crunch up the slope in silence with a few nods of heads to us as they cycled past.

    From the short time we spent following the groups along the first half of the route, a few things were obvious:
    • White is striking at night! An all white t-shirt or jersey as ordered ("dress in white") would have really made the group stand out. The mixed coloured jerseys that some persisted in wearing are not noticeable and quite unsuitable or night cycling.
    • Rear helmet lights were prominent and in fact, critical for congested roads where cyclists ride in close proximity to motorists. However, few cyclists had rear helmet lights. The rear seat lights are less useful in these situations as they are more noticeable from afar.
    • Many were using pretty decent front white blinking lights. Surprisingly some were actually riding without front lights.
    • The few passerby-cyclists without lights were practically invisible to traffic!
    • Quite a number of cyclists were clueless about navigating lane changes safely - their timing and hand signals left much to be desired. Wish they sign up for some practical training somewhere, the sort motorcyclists get in preparation for their Class 2B license.
    • The ride was supposed to be a slow-paced ride. But I think I'd be hard-pressed to keep up with some groups who were whizzed past!

    I'm sure there will be more on my cycling lists later tonight and tomorrow. Hope it will help the organisers next year. Meanwhile, see news from Rides of Silence around the world and tweets from cyclists gearing up or after their ride.

    Some of my photos from the ride are on Flickr; see also VR-Zone.

    "Cyclists join thousands worldwide in Ride of Silence," by Tan Yew Guan. Channel NewsAsia, 20 May 2009.

    SINGAPORE: About 200 cyclists gathered at the Merlion Park on Wednesday evening to embark on a one-hour ride through Singapore's roads. They joined thousands of others in a world wide movement.

    Called the Ride of Silence, riders went at a slow pace throughout the 19 kilometre route.

    At the same time, they maintained silence amid the roar of traffic in honour of those killed or injured in traffic accidents while cycling.

    Last year, at least 20 people died in such accidents.

    The first Ride of Silence rolled off in Dallas in the United States six years ago.

    Then, it was just a gathering of one thousand cyclists to mark the death of a fellow cyclist who was killed by a school bus mirror.

    Throughout world, from Hong Kong to Spain and all across the United States, cyclists in over 200 locations are taking part in similar rides.

    Organisers hope that the event will make drivers more aware of the presence of cyclists on the roads. - CNA/vm

Ride of Silence Singapore - Chi Wei's impressions

Before midnight, Yap Chi Wei wrote to Zendogs (our cycling group) to recount the events of the night. I reproduce it here with his permission:

"I estimate that just over 400 riders turned up for this ride. Everyone gathered pretty much on time and the first group of 12 riders were flagged off at 7.20pm. With so many riders, the organiser(s) ran out of outriders/volunteer ride leaders after about 20 groups. So the rest (groups 21 onwards) had to wait for the lead pack to return to recycle the ride leader! This was accepted with mild groans here and there.

Catherine and I did a Zendog [our cycling group legendary for taking food beaks] and adjourned to the nearby Coffee Bean for some pasta and puffs. With our hunger assuaged, we rejoined the remaining mass of bikers and got flagged off well after 8pm.

Our ride grouping started out well but soon fell apart although the volunteer guide tried to keep things together. Inevitably, some of the group split into smaller groups without ride leaders. Some, who had not studied the route, got separated. But we continued on, sometimes joining groups that we caught up with and at other times, falling back due to traffic lights.

Along Holland Rd near the Botanics, a group of young riders on heavy jump bikes started to stand and sprint up the hill with little regard for traffic on their right. This caused a Volvo XC90 SUV to mount a center divider trying to avoid them! I don't think these kids even knew why they were there. It was more like a fun ride for them, yelling and screaming. So much for silence.

There were also unicycles in another group, which should not have been there as they had to struggle to keep up, did not have appropriate lighting, and it was harder for them to handle the evening rush hour traffic.

Ride of silence almost became a ride of attrition.

The good thing that the majority were well behaved. Motorists seemed to be quite tolerant of the large groups of riders on the road and there were very few horns directed our way.

We peeled off somewhere near High Street to head back to her office to pack her bike into her car. I rode back on the road. Total distance for me was 43kms.

The ride leaders from Joyriders were volunteers and roped in at the last moment to assist. They did the best they could, with some riding two loops of the route. Kudos to them.

Going to bed now..."

Ride of Silence Singapore report

The Singapore Ride of Silence last night had a great turnout and was a lot of fun! There was festive atmosphere at the Merlion as everyone waited their turn to set out.

It was wonderful to feel the safety-in-numbers effect of riding in a large group.

My group had about 40 and there was little choice but to claim a whole lane (but only one!). Singapore law does not condone riding two or more abreast but it seemed the safest approach with such a group. It quickly became obvious that tempting motorists to squeeze into the lane with us was a bad idea. Fortunately, the motorists around us seemed to accept this and mostly behaved very patiently. The ride was all on multi-lane roads and the peak traffic seemed to be over so I saw no congestion resulting from the ride. I was at the front and tried friendly waves to as many passing motorists as possible with a mouthed 'thank you' and got a few thumbs up signals back.

Mr Brown has a report too and estimates 400 riders, which was about my guess too. The Joyriders were carefully counting so I guess we will hear the real number sooner or later.

Otterman (Sivasothi on this list) has a report with a couple of video clips of groups on Holland Rd.

Well done Joyriders and Benoit for organising the event and for getting so much positive press coverage.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Don't forget the positive vision: cycling as safe and convenient

Tonight's Ride of Silence in Singapore and Worldwide is an important event to raise awareness of the need to make cycling in Singapore much safer.

But as we pay our respects to those who have been killed or injured, let's not forget that we have a positive vision for cycling. Riding a bicycle can and should be safe and convenient for ordinary people, not just heroic athletes in lycra and helments.

A post today at Streetsblog asks if pro-cycling organisations are making a mistake to emphasise the danger so much. Dutch and Danish bicycle promotion efforts make bicycles seem fun, easy to use and safe (see the bike promotion poster below from the Netherlands).

Let's work towards the day when we can truthfully promote cycling in Singapore in the same way.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Ride of Silence (Singapore) - 20 May 2009

"A cyclist with a cause," by Agatha Koh Brazil [].
Today, 12 May 2009


SOON after he arrived in Singapore in 2007, Benoit Valin got a bicycle to ride to his office at Buona Vista. Just as quickly too, on a rainy October day, he was rendered a bloody mess along Portsdown Road by a motorist who turned without looking.

Then the motorist in the car behind honked at him to get out of the way. "She well saw that I had blood on my head and other parts of my body, but she waved her fist to threaten me," says the 31-year-old Canadian.

That wasn’t the only incident for the dedicated "bike commuter". "Commuting is the only time I can ride my bike. Unfortunately, it is also the most dangerous time of the day (to do so)." Other close calls include one in January when a driver shot across three lanes of Commonwealth Avenue and Benoit had to swerve to avoid him. In doing so, he had to "touch" the car to avoid being hit by a bus. That enraged the motorist who "chased down" the road for about a kilometre. "Then he came out of the car, fists in the air,” recalls the Ottawa native.

In February, along Bukit Timah Road, a driver shot across two lanes and narrowly avoided clipping him. "At the light, I knocked on his window to talk. He did the 'I’ve done nothing wrong, you’re on the road and you have no place here' speech," says Benoit. "That about sums it up. This happens about every week, but I don’t make a fuss about them ... only when they really have to be educated."

May 20 is when he hopes this will happen. That is when Ride of Silence Singapore - he is the organiser - will kick off at 7pm from Merlion Park at Clifford Pier. Attending riders will dress in white and ride - in silence - to honour those killed or injured while cycling on public roads. Last year, there were about 22 such deaths here, and this year, the figure already stands at six, says Benoit. It is expected to increase with the escalating popularity of cycling.

The riders here will join others worldwide in a silent slow ride on May 20 to raise the awareness of motorists and other road users as well as that of the authorities. The first ride originated in the United States city of Dallas, after endurance cyclist Larry Schwartz was killed when hit by the mirror of a passing bus. Officials from the Safe Cycling Task Force will also join in. The route (yet to be approved) will cover 19km or so.

Cycling for Benoit has been a 14-year “love story”. At 17 and at college, he needed money, so he started cycling extensively as a messenger in Ottawa. At university in Boston, he volunteered for Bikes Not Bombs, a not-for-profit organisation that recycles old bikes for third-world countries. Graduate school between 2001 and 2006 meant never staying long enough in a place to sustain a devotion to a cause. Until Singapore, where he saw "how road, and cycling safety could improve the quality of life for everyone".

That encounter in February made the bachelor decide to dedicate his spare time to cycling safety. He then had a cause, but no means to reach out. "Changing the world by yourself, when all you see is the same five people every day is very difficult," says the bioinformatics scientist for a pharmaceutical company. In April, he received an email from Canada’s National Capital Commission, advertising the Ride of Silence. "It was an epiphany. I found the means to unite people in support for a cause that affects everyone," he says.

There have been 100 responses from his Facebook group so far. Minister of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) Vivian Balakrishnan is scheduled to be present, as is Senior Parliamentary Secretary for MCYS and Ministry of Transport, Mr Teo Ser Luck.

Benoit clocks about 1,000km a month riding from his Bukit Batok home to Buona Vista. When the 200km of park connectors are completed by 2015, "Singapore will become a world-class haven for cyclists." "Unfortunately, park connectors don’t go everywhere. They cover only 60 per cent of my commute. The challenge is coping with traffic and the dangers of traffic." That means drivers of every ilk, as well as pedestrians, especially "those who zig-zag between cars at lights and pop up without warning". Cyclists who ride at night without lights and reflectors, wearing dark clothes, and those who ride against traffic and through lights are at fault, too.

Benoit is keen that helmets be worn, and made mandatory for riders under 12. "Deaths can never be reduced to zero. Drivers need to learn how to communicate their intentions clearly to cyclists (and vice versa). The rules of the road need to be clearer so they can be respected. Only then can roads be safer." Cycling safety should be incorporated into driving classes and tested during the theory test. Physical education teachers too, should teach cycling safety, he says.

"On a bicycle, safety means staying alive."

Singapore’s first such ride was in 2006, started by Jimi Loh. But the rides were never registered with the US and not publicised. Benoit and Mr Loh will work together next year. For details visit

Email your views to

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Registration for bicycles? Debate in the USA

A bicycle registration debate has just just erupted in the USA too. San Francisco Streetsblog tackles the issue.

Of course, bicycles used to be registered in Singapore and the idea has been suggested again recently. The main trigger here seems to be concern about bad behaviour by bicycle users on pedestrian pavements.

The American debate involves some different issues from Singapore's but there also some parallels which might be of interest.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

More pavement cycling problems

Aussie Pete has some observations about the unhappy state of sharing the pavements on Woodlands Ave 7. He notes some progress... but is not optimistic that much will change.

My take: Any effort to change the behaviour of bicycle users needs to be compelling or it will not work. Many cyclists use the pavements now because it seems the safest option. This will continue until there is a safe option that is more attractive than pavements.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Rent and return bicycles between Changi and ECP

Six new bicycle kiosks have opened along the Eastern Coastal Park Connector Network. These allow the rental and return of bicycles at any of the six kiosks, so a weak cyclist who has made his first enjoyable ride to East Coast Park does not have to dread the 8km ride back to Changi to return the bicycle - he just needs to return it to the relevant kiosk in ECP.

Of the entire PCN, it is the Changi Beach Park to East Coast Park stretch which I recommend to friends out to get a taste of cycling in Singapore. The scenery is nice and the route is very safe with only three junction crossings. The inland parts of the PCN are less hospitable so is best explored later when their cycling skills have improved and they want to explore. Rental rates are $5/hour.

Pity there is no Pasir Ris Park station though. The stations are at:

  • Sun Plaza Park (Tampines)

  • Changi Beach Park Area Car Park 1,

  • Changi Beach Park Car Park 7

  • East Coast Park Area G

  • East Coast Park Area C,

  • Telok Kurau Park

    "No need to backtrack to return rental bike," by Maria Almenoar. The Straits Times, 10 March 2009.

    A NEW spin on recreational cycling has hit the four connected parks on the East Coast.
    Six new bicycle rental kiosks strung out along the bike paths now allow cyclists to pick up and drop off their rented wheels at any of these pit stops.

    Bye bye to the need to backtrack to the kiosk from which the bicycle was rented, as is the required practice with bike rental stations now.

    The National Parks Board (NParks) awarded the tender to run the new service to Lifestyle Recreation, a company which has been renting out bicycles and in-line skates at the East Coast Park since 2001.

    Its kiosks can be found at East Coast Park Area C, East Coast Park Area G, Changi Beach Park Area Car Park 1, Sun Plaza Park, Changi Beach Park Car Park 7 and Telok Kurau Park. Two more may be set up in the Bedok and Pasir Ris town parks.

    Rental rates are comparable to other rental outlets in the area - $5 an hour for a bike and $10 an hour for a tandem bicycle. A cyclist needs to produce his or her identity card to rent a bike.

    Lifestyle Recreation is also looking into providing an all-day service in which a cyclist picks up a bike and can return it even after the rental stations have closed for the day.

    A cyclist who plans on returning the bike late first books and pays for the rental online. A bicycle number and code to the bicycle lock is then sent to him in a text message.

    Ms Susanna Tay, Lifestyle Recreation's managing director, said: 'When NParks opened the new park connectors, we knew that cyclists did not want to be restricted on where they could ride, so this is a value-added service we can provide.'

    She added that the company may allow the same rental arrangement for in-line skates if there is a demand.

    Photographer Alex Wee, 35, who heads to East Coast Park every two months for cycling, is now game to explore the East Coast's four parks.

    He said: 'Usually you don't get to cycle far and see much because you have to backtrack to return the bicycle. They should consider having a public transport link at either end as well.'

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Bicycles on pavements: Does it work in Japan?

Sidewalk cycling in Tokyo

Singapore is getting closer to a decision about legalising bicycle use on footways, at least in Tampines.

So I was pleased to stumble on a relevant paper. It focuses on Japan's experience. Since 1978 Japan has been the only major country to allow bicycle riding on most footway pavements. Scroll down for the author's conclusion.

Evaluation of shared use of bicycles and pedestrians in Japan

Author(s): P. Zhe, H. Yamanaka & K. Kakihara

Shared use of bicycles and pedestrians on sidewalks can be commonly seen all over Japan.

Cycling on sidewalks in Japan was permitted from 1978 following deregulation of the Road Traffic Law, which was urgent treatment to secure cyclists’ safety due to a lack of road space.

This was permitted on sidewalks with appropriate width and traffic conditions.

Although bicycles are still regarded as a vehicle and cyclists have to use the carriageway along with motor vehicles according to the Road Traffic Law, many bicycle users prefer to use sidewalks.

Cycle/pedestrian shared use would surely be disadvantageous related to the safety and amenity of pedestrians, and to the reduction of cycling speed.

Shared use with pedestrians, however, has advantages of safety and freedom for utility cyclists, which seems to be related to the fact that Japan has a high level of the modal share of bicycles used for going shopping or to school.

In addition, the number of women or aged users tends to be high compared with major motorized countries.

The aim of this study is to evaluate the level-of-service of shared use by pedestrians and bicycles, from the viewpoints of users’ safety and comfort considering traffic volume in shared use space.

By using a video survey of shared use streets, the authors analyzed the relationship between cycling speed, frequency of hindrance and traffic density or traffic volume of street users.

In conclusion, the author proposes the conditions necessary to apply shared use of bicycles and pedestrians on the sidewalks, considering the traffic flow of pedestrians and bicycles per width of sidewalks Keywords:
bicycle, shared use, level-of-service, Japan.

Pages: 10
Size: 1,017 kb
And here is their conclusion:
"The authors analysed hindrance behaviour by considering traffic volume per sidewalk width of pedestrians and bicycles, and proposed the minimum level of traffic conditions needed to apply shared use of bicycles and pedestrians on the sidewalks. As a result the necessary condition to coexistence of bicycles and pedestrians was found to be less than 0.5 pedestrians/minute/m and less than 3.0cyclists/minute・m. The standard for pedestrian/bicycle share use in terms of hourly traffic volume is less than 26 pedestrians / hour and 108 cyclists / hour for 2m wide sidewalks.

In future studies we aim to look at development of education or information methods (signs, road marking, colouring, etc.) on the street for bicycles and pedestrians to ensure the safety and comfort shared use for utility cyclists."

My take on what this means for Singapore? If we do legalise pavement cycling, we should also make an effort to provide attractive detours for bicycle users to avoid busy sections of walkway OR dramatically widen the effective width of the pavement at busy sections.

The paper pdf is free to download but you need to register first.

Friday, February 13, 2009

LTA: $43 million programme for dedicated cycling tracks

NewsRadio 93.8FM reports (12 Feb 2009):

Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Transport Teo Ser Luck told members of parliament that the Land Transport Authority will roll out a $43 million programme to design and construct dedicated cycling tracks next to pedestrian footpaths in HDB estates.

" Where there is enough space, these tracks will be physically separate from the footpaths, allowing cyclists to have a truly dedicated path. In more restricted areas, the tracks will be joined to the existing pedestrian footpath but they will have painted markings clearly defining and identifying them for cyclists, like what you see in our park connectors. "

Mr Teo said the first phase of the programme will cover five towns -- namely Tampines, Yishun, Sembawang, Pasir Ris and Taman Jurong.

In Tampines, the LTA will start building 6.9 kms of cycling tracks from the second half of this year onwards, at the estimated cost of $4.7 million.

Mr Teo said the next town will be Yishun, where the LTA will work with the HDB to extend existing tracks.

He said 7.5 kms of cycling tracks will be constructed from 2010 onwards, at a cost of $6.3 million.

Sembawang, Pasir Ris and Taman Jurong are also working with the LTA to design similar cycling tracks.

Mr Teo expressed hope that more towns could be added in the future.

See also Sandra Leong's lifestyle article in The Sunday Times from 16 Dec 2007 for a taste of park conenctors linking heartlands: "Great escape."

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Foldable bicycle scheme approved

LTA News release (12 Feb 2009):

"As announced by Mr Teo Ser Luck, Senior Parliamentary Secretary (Transport), foldable bicycles will be allowed on the Rapid Transit System (RTS) and public buses during off-peak hours within stated guidelines with effect from 15 March 2009. The scheme will proceed after taking into account stakeholder feedback from an earlier six-month trial.

Mr Jeremy Yap, LTA's Group Director for Vehicle and Transit Licensing said, "Implementation of this scheme is possible owing to the social graciousness and mutual accommodation of commuters. As a way forward, we hope that cyclists and other commuters will continue to be considerate to one another so that more people can use our public transport system to meet their diverse travel needs. We would like to thank everyone for their participation, support and feedback."

Read the rest here.

Guidelines that will take effect on 15th March 2009:

  1. Cyclists are responsible for the safe carriage of their foldable bicycles and must stay in the vicinity of their foldable bicycles at all times.
  2. Foldable bicycles should be folded at all times in the MRT/ LRT stations, bus interchanges/ terminals and on trains and buses.
  3. Foldable bicycles should not exceed 114 cm by 64 cm by 36 cm when folded.
  4. The wheels of a foldable bicycle should be wrapped up if they are dirty or wet.
  5. Protruding parts likely to cause injury or dirty / damage property are to be covered up.
  6. Foldable bicycles should not block the aisles and doors or impede commuter movement at any time.
  7. Foldable bicycles should be carried in an upright position.
  8. Only one foldable bicycle is allowed on each bus at any one time.
  9. When travelling by train, cyclists should use the first or last car, which is less crowded.
  10. Cyclists should use the lifts and wide fare gates at MRT/ LRT stations where these are available.
  11. Foldable bicycles are not allowed on the upper deck of a bus or placed on the staircase leading to the upper deck.
  12. Foldable bicycles are allowed during the following operating hours:
    • Monday to Friday: 9.30am to 4.00pm, 8.00 pm to end of operating hours
    • All day on Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays
  13. SMRT / SBS Transit station staff and bus drivers may disallow foldable bicycles if the actual situation within an MRT/ LRT station, bus interchange/ terminal or on board a train / bus does not permit foldable bicycles to be admitted safely and without inconveniencing other commuters.

Monday, February 09, 2009

"Safer cycling for everyone" - The New Paper, 09 Feb 2009

"Safer cycling for everyone," by Joyce Lim. The New Paper, 09 Feb 2009.
IN 2007, there were 551 accidents involving cyclists and 22 died as a result.

Last year was hardly any different with about half the number of accidents and deaths recorded in the first six months.

From those figures, we can derive that cyclists here are a vulnerable group of road users.

A slight brush with a car can cause them to lose momentum, stumble and even prove to be fatal.

Yet cyclists who ride on footpaths can be fined.

Just how can we make Singapore roads a safe haven for cyclists, considering the growth in the number of cyclists?

Of course, it would be ideal to have lanes specially allocated to cyclists on public roads.

But how feasible is that in land-scarce Singapore?

'Providing dedicated bicycle lanes on public roads would not be an optimal use of our limited road space,' a Land Transport Authority (LTA) spokesman told The New Paper.

'We already have dedicated lanes on our roads for buses which provide an efficient form of mass transportation.

'Under the traffic rules, cyclists are allowed to share and use bus lanes.'

Cyclists are also required to keep close to the left-hand edge of the roads so as not to obstruct vehicles moving at a faster speed.

Very often we see how our poor cyclists try to keep their balance and pedal in between the two yellow lines.

More space

'So why not expand that space by another 50cm?' asked Cor-Henk Roolvink, 44, vice-president of Safe Cycling Task Force (SCTF).

'Maybe not every road, but wider roads that are popular among cyclists?

'If there are three lanes and the speed limit is 60kmh, can we not reduce the width of each lane by a few centimetres to include a 50cm lane for cyclists? That way, buses will not have to drive in and out of their lanes to avoid hitting the cyclists. Isn't that better for the road flow too?'

SCTF, which was formed by a group of volunteers in 2005, lobbies for policy and infrastructure changes in Singapore to ensure that the roads are kept safe for cyclists, without compromising functional use.

The task force has managed to convince LTA of the rising popularity of cycling among Singaporeans and LTA has since installed 119 road signs warning motorists of the presence of cyclists along popular cycling routes in the eastern, central and western parts of Singapore.

Besides our limited infrastructure, SCTF's president, Steven Lim, feels that Singapore also lacks a more detailed code of conduct for cyclists.

Since 2007, SCTF has been trying to come up with a code of conduct for cyclists.

Said Lim, 41: 'We study the rules in other countries like the United Kingdom and draft our own highway code for cyclists. Once ready, we will try to get the Traffic Police to sanction it.'

There are still plenty of road situations that are unclear - like how some left lanes allow vehicles to go straight or turn left. If a cyclist wants to go straight and a car wants to turn left, who has the right of way?

'In such a situation, the cyclist should put out his or her hand to signal that he or she is going straight and the motorist should give way to the cyclist,' replied Lim.

And for that ideal situation to happen, our cyclists and motorists need to be educated.

Last year, the Singapore Sports Council (SSC) spearheaded an initiative to publish a safe cycling guide with input from SCTF, the Singapore Amateur Cycling Association (SACA) and the Traffic Police. A SSC spokesperson told The New Paper that they are planning to complete the book next month.


Victor Yew, president of SACA which is the national sports association for cycling, said: 'Right now, Singapore does not have a cycling culture. There are still people who don't wear helmets when they cycle on the roads.

'I have been cycling for more than 20 years. To me, when I ride, I need a helmet. When I travel to Europe, Australia and New Zealand, I see cyclists with helmets. Even if it is a short ride to the market, all the cyclists put on helmets.'

Asked if we should make it compulsory for all cyclists to wear helmets here, Yew, 42 replied: 'Enforcement is a bit harsh to me. Education can prove to be effective too.'

'Not only do we need to educate cyclists on proper road conduct but also we need to educate motorists to acknowledge cyclists as road users and have more patience with cyclists,' added Yew, who is one of the founders of cycling interest group Eat Cycle Eat and a partner of Boon Bike Supply on Changi Road.

He recalled a recent cycling trip to Germany where he was impressed by the patience shown by the other road users.

Yew was cycling with two friends on a single-lane, two-way road and a bus came up from behind him.

Instead of sounding the horn, the bus driver waited patiently for the on-coming traffic to be cleared before overtaking Yew and his friends.

If only our motorists can exercise as much patience with cyclists here.

Of course, cyclists too need to take basic precautions like putting on proper cycling gear and exercise proper road conduct such as using hand signals to warn other road users behind them.

Between 2005 and 2007, an average of 450 summonses per year had been issued to cyclists found flouting traffic rules.

Bicycle, pedestrian, speeding and road safety

A couple of news related to bicycle and road safety over the weekend:

1) Chip, or Mr Charles W Goodyear, the new CEO of Temasek holdings was known to cycle to work in Melbourne while being the boss of the world' largest mining company. I hope he will continue to do so in Singapore and give his staffs and the media a much needed "bicycle culture shock". (Weekend Today, February 7-8, front page)

2) Make road safer for the elderly (SundayTimes, February 8, page H10) reflected that most elderly people felt that pedestrian crossing light should stay longer and there should be more traffic light crossing instead of overhead bridges. While Singapore's pedestrian infrastructure is world-class, a lot more can be done for the elderly. There are many area in Singapore, like Toa Payoh, has been transformed from an industrial area to a residential area. However, many of the road design still remind the same, which was good for large trucks, but very dangerous for people, especially elderly and young children. For example, the large radius banding junction from Toa Payoh Lorong 1 into Lorong 1A is good for the cars and trucks to make a quick turn, but very dangerous for people crossing the Lorong 1A. In fact, there is no proper crossing at that spot until 50 meters down the road. The problem is, almost nobody will walk another 50 meter down the road when the food stalls they want to go is just across the road. This is human nature, ask yourself, including the one who design the crossing and foot bridges, can you assure that you never cross a road where there is no pedestrian crossing? In this respect, we are all jaywalker at one point or another.
I would like to see more consideration given to make the road junctions safer for pedestrians and other non-motorists.

3) Putting the brakes on pile-ups (SundayTimes, February 8, page H10) talk about the danger of speeding on the expressway. According to the Traffic Police there were 1748 speed related road accidents and 83 were killed. I read it as: 83 families were ruined due to someone speeding on the road, may be the driver was not careful, or on the phone, or drunk, or angry or whatever, but non of these reasons justify someone got killed, not even for the driver himself. I feel some of Singapore roads are designed for higher speed than the speed limits. I simply don't "feel" driving at 60km/h is 10 km/h above the speed limit in many well paved, wide roads in Singapore. In Europe, many of the road design deliberately make "psychological obstacles" to slow down the car speed for safer roads. Narrower road, more bending, humps, center islands are all easily adoptable. One good example is the pedestrian crossing behind Geylang Polyclinic across Aljunied Ave. 2. There is a large hump, a narrow road and clear zebra crossing. I never saw any car failed to slow down at that crossing.

4)President Arroyo issues order encouraging people to walk, bike, and ride the train
In an effort to reduce the country’s carbon footprint and improve air quality, President Arroyo has ordered transport authorities to craft a national Environmentally Sustainable Transport (EST) strategy for the country.
"The new paradigm in the movement of men and things must follow a simple principle: Those who have less in wheels must have more in road," the presidential order stated.
Now even the less developed countries are more bold on non-motorized transport. It's time for Singapore to catch up, not only to more developed countries like UK, France and Holland, which already have more solid policy to promote the use of bicycle on road, but also to less developed countries like China, India, Philippines and Indonesia, they too, discovered non-motorized transport is the best way to move on.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Valentine Day's ride on East Coast Park PCN

Green is the New Pink

"Green is the new Pink Bike-a-Thon" - a scenic 28km through the East Coast Park Connector.

An final year project event by the Flying Cows, four final year NTU students frm the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information! You gotta love the URL:

Registration ends tomorrow so hop over quick.

  • Start point: Sun Plaza Park
  • End point/picnic ground: East Coast Park Area C4
  • Date/day: 14 Feb 2009/Saturday
  • Reporting time: 0645hours
  • Flag-off: 0800 hours
  • Registration fee: $15 (+ bike rental + helmet rental fee + attractive goodie bag)

The exhibition is over, but there is also a blogging contest open until 7th March 2009 with a 7-speed Dahon bike as 1st prize!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Obama out and about on his bicycle

When will we see more of our leaders do the same :-)

Picture source:

Monday, January 12, 2009

Multi-level automated bicycle parking in Tokyo

Asia is Green recently highlighted this Youtube clip which shows an automated system grabbing a parked 'gentleman bicycle,' sending it underground to be racked up in a space saving, multi-level bicycle garage, and quickly too!

The clip is on Japanese but from other blogs I gleaned that the garage is apparently located at Tokyo Metro's Kasai Station and can hold 9,400 bicycles. The reporter test recorded the system taking a mere 23 seconds to store a bicycle and this single session use cost 100 yen (S$1.65 / US$1.11) and about US$18 for a season pass.

Danny Cho took a closer look.

The garage apparently costs US$67 million. It is nearly full everyday and ther ehas been a 20% in neighbourhood biking according to the Washington Post report (see below).

See this informative report by Blaine Harden, The Washington Post:

See comments and this link about secure, free bicycle cages in Australia.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

NTU Bike Rally 2009

The NTU Bike Rally is the best long distance public ride in Singapore and I have ridden with them since 2003.

This year the bike rally falls on Sunday, 15th March 2009 and for the second year, there are two start points - East Coast Park (128km) and Nanyang Technological University (85km).

The 128km route passes by Labrador Park, NTU, Kranji Reservoir, Seletar Reservoir, Pasir Ris Park and Changi Beach before ending back at East Coast Park.

See their webpage for details:

NTU Bike Rally 2009 small