Thursday, November 21, 2013

URA's Draft Master Plan 2013: National Cycling Plan - "Cycling for All"

Unveiled on 20 November 2013, the URA Draft Master Plan has six key focuses. Transport is a key focus and identifies these issues:
  1. Transport And Connectivity
  2. Doubling The Rail Network
  3. Enhancing Bus Services
  4. Reducing Car Usage
  5. Cycling For All
  6. Creating Walkable Places
"Cycling for All" outlines the National Cycling Plan. Read at Draft Master Plan 2013 - Cycling for All

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Singapore still lacks the ride stuff

By Toh Yong Chuan Senior Correspondent
Straits Time 2013-11-09

More than 500 cities in the world have bicycle-sharing schemes. Singapore is not among them.
Although the Government announced bold plans last month to build a staggering 700km of cycling paths by 2030 - the equivalent of cycling from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur and back - that alone will not make Singapore a cycling city.
We have fallen behind other cities that actively promote cycling as a mode of transport. There are various reasons why we should pedal hard to catch up.
Cycling is a green option that can be an efficient people-mover for transport planners.
A cycling census in London this year found that one in four road users in the morning peak period is a cyclist. For some popular roads, as many as three in five vehicles in the morning rush hour were bikes.
Bikes take up proportionately less road space than cars. Given that the road network here cannot expand indefinitely, cycling paths provide a logical option even as we expand our train and public bus networks.
Cycling also encourages interaction and it can be a social leveller. Cars cocoon drivers and disconnect them from other road users. In contrast, there are no physical barriers between cyclists and they have to share space.
I was part of a three-man reporting team that rode some 180km of park connectors last month to explore whether they could be used for daily commute.
At the Kallang Park Connector, a cyclist on an Italian Colnago bike, which costs thousands of dollars, stopped to ask whether we were lost. It did not matter to him that our bikes cost a fraction of his. I wonder how many BMW and Mercedes-Benz drivers will stop and help a Toyota Corolla driver with directions.
The Government used to be lukewarm towards cycling. Small pockets of cyclists have lobbied for dedicated bike lanes on the roads but their calls were repeatedly rejected by the Government, citing space constraints. Tampines is the closest Singapore came to a cycling city.
But there was a change of heart this year. We are still not getting bike lanes on the roads, but the 700km of cycling paths will connect the whole island and all HDB towns will have a network of dedicated paths to MRT stations.
The Government is even exploring automated underground parking for bikes.
The hot and wet weather here makes cycling unattractive. While we cannot control the weather, there are four steps that we can take - besides building infrastructure - to promote the use of two-wheelers as a mode of transport.
First, we can re-introduce bicycle-sharing. This is not a new concept. The biggest community bicycle scheme is in Hangzhou, China, with over 60,000 bikes; the newcomer is Citi Bike in New York City that was launched in May, and Copenhagen is set to launch the world's most high-tech system this month with its bicycles fitted with onboard computers.
Insurer NTUC Income wheeled out a bike-sharing programme at four housing estates in 2004, but it folded in 2008.
There will be no lack of options should Singapore decide to take another crack at bike-sharing. Other cities have roped in advertising companies, banks and public transport operators. We have the benefit of learning from them.
Second, the current rules that restrict bikes in trains and buses should be relaxed. Folding bikes have been allowed on MRT trains and buses since 2008, but response has been poor because of restrictions.
The limitation on size can stay, but the bikes should be allowed on trains earlier, say before the 7.30am rush hour. The earliest they are allowed on trains now is 9.30am, well past the time most workers have to clock in for work.
And more than one bike should be allowed on each public bus at any one time, since there are some folding bikes that do not take up more than one person's standing room.
Third, school and premises owners should cater to students or workers who commute by bicycle by providing parking spaces or shower rooms.
This week, I saw half a dozen bikes chained to railings outside a primary school in Sengkang. I asked a security guard why the pupils could not park their bikes in the school compound. He shrugged his shoulders: "Have to talk to the principal."
Such attitudes should change.
Lastly, it is unclear which government agency spearheads the cycling policy in Singapore. National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan is a known cycling enthusiast.
Three statutory boards - the Land Transport Authority, which plans public roads, town-planner Urban Redevelopment Authority and the National Parks Board, which builds park connectors - and at least three ministries - the National Development, Transport and Finance ministries - have stakes in the cycling policy.
While the much-touted "whole of government" approach to policies should largely see the cycling policy through, small cracks are already showing.
For example, there is no consistency in how overhead bridges are designed or built. Some do not even have ramps and cyclists have to haul their bikes up and down steps. There are also eyesores at some sections of the park connectors. At the Pelton Park Connector, the fresh coats of paint stop abruptly at a rusty old pedestrian bridge that was built at least four decades ago by the now-defunct Public Works Department. NParks could not refurbish the old bridge as it does not own it.
Besides coordinating government agencies, perhaps we can also take a leaf from London, which appointed a "cycling commissioner" this year to be an advocate for cyclists as the city plans cycling policies and programmes. We do not need to copy the idea, but there is no harm for the Government to step up its engagement with cycling enthusiasts as it expands the cycling infrastructure.
These steps, taken together with the expansion in cycling infrastructure, give us a good shot at making Singapore a cycling city. It will help us pedal into the league of self-respecting modern cities that promote cycling for commute because it is green, efficient and a social leveller.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Cycling in Singapore is evolving, so expect joy and expect growing pains!

I looked back to a blog post from ten years ago and it is a fascinating read - "Thoughts about cycling in Singapore".

The important issue though is, how much has changed since?

Well in the past year, so many things have happened in the cycling scene in Singapore and the number of announcements, news items and discussions have far outpaced my ability to keep this ten-year old blog updated!

Stakeholders have been meeting with URA and LTA, sounding out suggestions, consulting on routes and even going on bicycle rides! In a very short time, advocates for cycling as an integral part of city life have become a united group, whether in government or from the ground.

The mission? Introduce, change and improve infrastructure, culture, mindset about cycling as a way of life and be a natural evolution from modern Singapore's foundation as a garden city. Also, we need to teach a lost generation how to ride a bicycle!

Suddenly, many things seem possible. And the people involved are not idealistic, some changes we will happily see now, others we know will only happen in a very distant future - so much so one person hoped he could enjoy some of that change before dying!

Many stakeholders have been advocates for a couple of decades, from their far-seeing conviction of what could be possible in Singapore. Some have been fuelled by their experiences overseas, themselves the fruit of a long, arduous journey involving many groups.

The hurry to appreciate better cycling possibilities hit a hard wall for a long time, with arguments dismissed with the suggestion it was too sweaty to cycle to work. Many believed the dismissal, not having tried mounting a saddle to appreciate the freedom it offered, or discovered the possibilities and joy of cycling to work.

As we grew more urbanised, as foldable bikes flooded the island, as some part of the island were liberated, as we discovered safe short routes at our doorstep, and as people travelled to other cities and experienced the fruits of their efforts and thought about the sort of city we were becoming, as we yearned for ways to liberate our minds from the intensity of city living as all this and more happened, the inevitable happened. The nonsensical suggestions of the past became serious considerations and efforts behind the scenes have begun to be expressed.

At a meeting at the Urban Redevelopment Authority between staff from URA, LTA and stakeholders, some had expected an angry conversation. Instead it was simply fruitful.

Participants found themselves in a conversation with government officers who were familiar with the fundamentals. The group recognised and appreciated experienced suggestions and technical ideas. The focus was very quickly orientated towards the challenges of our inherited infrastructure, attitudes honed by our history and expectations (or lack of) and then on to practical solutions for the short and long-term.

This is the way change often takes place, gradually, over more than a decade!

And this will not be fast enough for some. And there will be growing pains.

The old debates will the resuscitated repeatedly and discussed, often without inheriting the wisdom of the past. Self-serving perspectives will surface noisily - these motorists, cyclists and even pedestrians will argue from a lack of holistic vision or sadly, just selfishness. But I am convinced from public engagements that these are NOT the views of the majority.

I have also been fortunate to experience those who have a vision of a city with considerateness for all users, and these will move the debate towards holistic solutions.

These people inspire, encourage and motivate, and they include folk from all walks of life, civil servants, motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. They give me hope for any and all of the challenges we will face in Singapore.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

I have a dream for Singapore: Fewer cars, fewer roads - Kishore Mahbubani

Fewer cars, fewer roads

By Kishore Mahbubani, for The Straits Times, 14 Sep 2013, by invitation

A FEW weeks ago, on Aug 28, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the famous speech given by Martin Luther King Jr entitled "I have a dream". He said: "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character."

The goal of his speech was to open the roads to advancement for his fellow black citizens. I too have a dream for my fellow Singaporeans. However, while the goal of his speech was to open the roads to advancement, my goal is to close the roads to advancement for my fellow citizens. The only difference between him and me is that while he was speaking metaphorically, I am speaking literally. We do not need many more physical roads or much more physical road space in Singapore.

One undeniable hard truth of Singapore is that we live in one of the smallest countries in the world. This is also why we have one of the most expensive land costs in the entire world. Apart from Monaco, no other United Nations member state has land as expensive as Singapore has per square foot. Hence, we should value every square foot. Every square foot we give up to road space is a square foot taken away from other valuable uses: pedestrian walkways, bike paths, green parks and so on.

To be fair to our road planners, they are caught in a bind because Singapore is continuing to grow its population of cars. If we expand the number of cars, we have no choice but to expand the amount of roads to carry more cars. So the real solution is to reduce the demand for more cars in Singapore. How do we do this?

The problem here is that a car remains an essential part of the Singapore dream. Yet, if every Singaporean achieves his or her dream, we will get a national nightmare. To prevent this national nightmare from happening, we have created harsh policies to raise prices and reduce the demand for cars.

Status symbols

PARADOXICALLY, the high prices of cars have made them even more desirable as status symbols. This is why luxury brands trump cheap brands in Singapore sales. If the desirability of cars keeps rising, our efforts to curtail car ownership will be as successful as a dog chasing its tail.

So what is the alternative solution? The solution is obvious: Change the Singapore dream!

Yes, almost every Singaporean reading this article will laugh out loud at this suggestion. How can any well-off Singaporean deprive himself of a car? It serves as the most reliable form of transportation as well as a powerful status symbol. The minute you own a car, especially a Mercedes-Benz, BMW or Lexus, your friends know that you have arrived.

But for 10 years of my life, I have actually lived on another even more crowded tiny island where it is not rational to own a car. In fact, it is considered downright stupid to buy and own a car if you live in Manhattan. All this came home clearly to me one evening in Manhattan when I saw the former chairman of Citibank, Mr Walter Wriston, and his wife Kathryn standing on First Avenue with their arms raised and trying to hail a cab.

Clearly, Mr Wriston was then one of the richest men on our planet. He could have easily bought a car in Manhattan. Yet, it just did not make sense.

The eco-system of public transport that Manhattan had created with a combination of subway trains, public buses and readily accessible taxis meant that in a crunch you could get anywhere in Manhattan using public transport.

More significantly, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, another clearly very rich man, used to take a subway train to work in Manhattan.

The former mayor of Colombian capital Bogota, Mr Enrique Penalosa, put it very well when he said: "A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars. It's where the rich use public transportation."

I have been to Bogota. When I visited it in 1992, the city was so unsafe that I was given a private bodyguard to walk down its equivalent of Orchard Road. Mr Penalosa transformed the city so much that Latino Fox News described him as "one of the world's pre- eminent minds on making modern cities more liveable."

Mr Penalosa is quoted as saying: "When we talk about car-free cities, we're not talking about some hippie dream. Not only do they exist, but they also are the most successful cities on the planet. The ones where the real estate is the most valuable, the ones that attract most tourists, the most investment, the ones that generate the most creative industries."

There was a time when Singapore's experiments in improving its urban environment would get global attention. Today, it is a man like Mr Penalosa, with bigger dreams than our dreams, who is described by Latino Fox News as a man whose "work and ideas have gained him international attention and a loyal fan base that includes New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg".

Mr Paul Steely White, executive director of New York City's Transportation Alternatives, has also said about New York City that "the way the streets of the greatest city in the world are being used is changing fundamentally… People are beginning to understand that it's entirely possible and really very desirable to lead a life without being tethered to an automobile".

We therefore have to replace the Singapore dream with the Manhattan or Bogota dream.

We have to give up this insane dream of owning a car and replace it with an ecosystem of a public transport system that makes it irrational to own a car.

Singapore's failure

AND this is probably one of Singapore's biggest failures in its first 50 years: We have failed to develop a world-class ecosystem of public transport. We do have a good public transport network, but this has not kept pace with the population's expectations, which include a more reliable MRT system with fewer breakdowns, predictable bus services, taxis available in thundery showers, and pools of electric cars for ready rental.

So why did we fail? The answers must be complex. But one fundamental error could be simple. We expected every artery of this ecosystem to be financially viable. The disastrous result of looking at each artery and not looking at the ecosystem as a whole is that while each artery made sense in isolation, the combination did not result in a good ecosystem. Even more dangerously, by looking at each unit in isolation, we did not consider its impact on the island or the nation as a whole.

Let me give a specific example from the area of expanding road space. Many Singaporeans of my generation are still puzzled that the road planners of Singapore destroyed our precious National Library on Stamford Road to build a little tunnel under Fort Canning to save two minutes of driving time. The road planners who designed this tunnel had no idea that they were effectively shooting a bullet through the soul of Singapore by destroying the National Library.

This is why we have to be fair to our road planners. The only key performance indicator (KPI) given to them is to make traffic flow smoothly. With this KPI, it is logical to build more roads or expand road space. Hence, it was perfectly natural for our road planners to announce recently that Clementi Road and the Pan-Island Expressway would be expanded. I am sure many motorists who use that stretch of road daily will approve. But when do we say that enough is enough?

This is why we need a new dream. Does this mean Singaporeans will stop driving cars?

Absolutely not. My dream is to walk out of my house, use a smart card to pick up an electric car on rent and drive it anywhere I want to. We can replace car ownership with car pools. In fact, other cities have begun trying this. In Vauban, a suburb of Freiburg, Germany, 70 per cent of residents choose to live without private cars due to excellent city planning and a car sharing system. Before you scoff at electric cars, let me tell you that electric cars have faster torque than petrol-driven cars.

In short, we can have an alternative dream for Singapore. Let us dream of an island with fewer cars and fewer roads. It will be closer to being paradise on earth. The writer is dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore.

Monday, May 13, 2013

"Stop the killing on the roads" - Editorial, The Straits Times

"Stop the killing on the roads," editorial in The Straits Times, 13 May 2013.

"AT LEAST three people here come to an untimely end on the roads every week. Three cyclists died recently in as many days. A professor's wife lost her life under a double-decker bus. Two young brothers were killed when a cement mixer ran over them while they were cycling. They made the news; many others did not. All of the deaths were tragic. They were both needless and avoidable.

With over 965,000 vehicles and millions of pedestrians and cyclists jostling on the roads in a land-scarce city, to flout the rules, act inconsiderately or push one's luck is to court disaster. There were 327,503 traffic violations last year, many of which had the potential of causing more harm than what transpired. It is safe to assume that hundreds of thousands of other illegal and dangerous acts escaped detection. Law enforcers cannot be everywhere and, like street cameras, can pose only a deterrent effect. Saving lives will call for preventive action undertaken by all. Instead of playing a cat-and-mouse game while cutting corners to gain a dubious advantage on the roads, all road users need to take personal responsibility for the safety of not just themselves but also other road users.

Fostering such a road culture will take time but is well worth the effort as safety consciousness paired with graciousness on the streets can palpably transform the daily experience of people on the move. The Traffic Police's plan to reward deserving drivers, as part of the Safer Roads Singapore movement, can help to promote good habits. Civic groups should assist by reaching out to other road users as well - cyclists, young pedestrians, the elderly, and foreign workers (particularly those from teeming cities with hell-bent motorists).

Heavy vehicles continue to deserve more attention because their drivers, in an elevated position, have to cope with blind spots and comparatively reduced manoeuvrability. Other road users often do not make enough allowance for such limitations and take their chances. Involved in 10 fatalities in the first three months of this year, drivers of these behemoths have to be dealt with firmly when they are caught speeding.

Apart from "enforcement, engagement and education" strategies, it is prudent to also closely study "black spots" where accidents tend to occur more frequently. Road engineering, markings, signage and competing traffic flows might be hazardous in one way or another. Improving traffic management at certain busy junctions should also be considered. In the end though, the roads are only as safe as the people who use it. There is no use pointing fingers. Motorists, cyclists, pedestrians - all - must play their part."

Saturday, May 04, 2013

SG Cyclists, the Inclusive Cycling Community

We'd love Singapore to be really bicycle friendly. We're a long way off but things have improved.

"SG Cyclists, the Inclusive Cycling Community" is a Facebook page run by a Mountain Biker, a Road Cyclist, a Triathlete, and a Fashion Stylist!

They are a shy bunch who ride two to three times a week, and no names for now, just judge them by what they do. I'm already recommending to newbies and oldies alike.

Why? I love their humour, helpful advise, suggestions and facts. In your facebook feed, you'll be urged to get off your butt to ride, be informed about the right way to wear a helmet, careful to check your lights on a Wednesday evening ride, be alert about haze and lightning, remember our fallen cyclists and measures to be safe and ways to enjoy your ride.

These are great messages to be reminded of and share with friends you might have just nudged on to a saddle - you need not ride alone!

Wearing a bicycle helmet

One morning I shared the helmet graphic with some green friends who have a tendency to point their visors to space! A helpful and effortless reminder before their next ride.

The founder of SG Cyclists almost lost a friend in a road accident. This sparked a network of like minded cyclists to spread the safe cycling message. And facebook is the medium through which information is spreading fastest these days between cyclists and other concerned individuals in Singapore.

SG Cyclists will expand their page admins to diversify content to match the cycling scene in Singapore. If they manage this, it could provide a central place for cyclists to gather online.

Just in their infancy, SG Cyclists had a fruitful conversation with Tampines GRC MP Baey Yam Kheng about the fate of Tampines Bike Park. It was an example of the sort of dialogue they are willing to pursue.

SG Cyclists conversation with MP Baey Yam Keng

A cycling-friendly Singapore has become more of a reality just from 10 years ago. We have along way to go, but this will grow with our city. We can't pass the buck to government alone, but efforts from the ground are sorely needed, such as this one.

Go one, hop over and see you at SG Cyclists, the Inclusive Cycling Community.

Another cyclist killed - worker returning to dorm in collision with bus at Jalan Boon Lay/International Road junction

"Cyclist who escaped Jurong blaze killed in collision with bus," by Lim Yi Han. The Straits Times, 04 May 2013

Junction of Jalan Boon Lay and International Road

"He had escaped a blaze at his workplace in the Jurong Industrial Estate four days ago, as he was out on a job.

But Malaysian Tan Kian Eang, 45, was not so lucky early yesterday morning, as his bicycle was involved in a collision with an SBS Transit bus at the junction of Jalan Boon Lay and International Road.

Paramedics from the Singapore Civil Defence Force arrived shortly after the accident at around midnight and pronounced Mr Tan dead at the scene. The Singaporean bus driver has been suspended pending police investigations.

This is the second fatality from a bus collision in less than two weeks. A 42-year-old woman died after she was hit by an SBS bus in Clementi on April 23.

According to evening daily Lianhe Wanbao, Mr Tan, who worked at Nam Hup, which supplies tents for outdoor events, was cycling back to his dormitory when the accident occurred.

He had planned to return to Malaysia over the weekend to vote.

He is survived by his wife and a seven-year-old daughter.

A colleague, Mr Friday Dayan, 30, said he had known Mr Tan for seven-and-a-half years. He said: "He was funny and like a brother to me. I'm very sad."

Nam Hup was slightly damaged in the fire on Tuesday, which destroyed three warehouses.

Ms Tammy Tan, senior vice-president of SBS Transit's corporate communications, said yesterday the company was "very sorry that this has happened" and its foremost priority would be to get in touch with Mr Tan's family to express its condolences and render what assistance it could.

She said SBS was also stepping up junction drill checks on its bus captains and would remind them of the need to always be alert.

Workers at the Jurong Industrial Estate told The Straits Times the junction is dangerous, with heavy vehicles tending to speed.

Security guard Ahmad Sata, 64, cycles to work from his home in Boon Lay. He said: "I'm very careful in this area because the heavy vehicles are very fast and sometimes don't give way."

Mr Gong Xiao Wei, 27, a mechanical engineer, added: "I was fined for cycling on the pavement before, but I don't dare to cycle on the roads. There are too many heavy vehicles here and my life is more important."

Friday, May 03, 2013

LTA of London, TFL, is testing out Dutch style road to make cycling safer in London

LTA of London, TFL, is testing out Dutch style road to reduce cyclist related accidents.

"Even at first go, it's safer then current round about."

After TWO cyclists died in London this year, stubborn TFL is now actively learning the best practices from the Netherlands to make cycling safer in London.

How many cyclists died in Singapore this year so far? What can LTA do to make it safer here?

BBC News London 30 April 2013
'Dutch roundabouts' could be seen in London next year

Roundabouts like the ones used in the Netherlands separating cars from cyclists could be used in London as early as next year, the city's cycling commissioner has said.

Trials of the layout are taking place at a research laboratory in Berkshire. The roundabouts do not conform with Department for Transport regulations as they stand. But Andrew Gilligan said if the trials continued to go well they could be seen in 2014.

'Fantastic for cyclists'
The layout gives cyclists priority and means they are in the line of sight of drivers when vehicles exit the roundabout. Campaigners have called for a number of London junctions to be changed to make them safer following cyclists' deaths.

In 2011 two cyclists died in the space of three weeks at the Bow roundabout in east London. The roundabout trial, which has been going for six weeks and will end in July, forms part of the mayor of London's Vision for Cycling. More than 600 people have been involved so far and the effects on safety and capacity will be studied. The impact on pedestrians and lorry, van and car drivers will also be monitored. Members of the public can participate in the trials.

Other ideas being tested include traffic lights with separate signals for cyclists. Mr Gilligan said: "We've got a cycling budget of £913m over 10 years and it includes £100m to refit junctions. "I'm really looking forward to seeing this [roundabout] on the road. I think it's going to be fantastic for cyclists."

Subject to the outcome of the trials, Transport for London (TfL) will work with the Department for Transport to try the roundabouts on the public highway. TfL said improvements at Bow roundabout and a 20mph speed limit at Waterloo roundabout were due to be delivered this summer as part of ongoing improvements.


Monday, April 15, 2013

Ivan Chew's suggestions for the Khatib Bongsu Park Connector

Ivan Chew at the Rambling Librarian writes,
"I love our Park Connectors. I ride on the Khatib Bongsu park connector most often (sometimes connecting all the way to Woodlands Waterfront, through the Admiralty connector). I've noticed minor improvements to the Khatib Bongsu connector in the last two years. But there's still room for improvements. "
And he goes on to detail the suggestions for seven sections of the Khatib Bongsu Park Connector, with illustrations such as this one:
If you have suggestions about your favourite PCN, blog about it and let me know, I'll highlight it here and forward the links to URA and any other relevant agency. Thanks Ivan!

Friday, April 05, 2013

"Like" the Mountain Biking Association (Singapore) facebook page

It began subtly, with a request to get to know each other:

Mountain Bike Association (Singapore)

As the rate of discovery was too slow, a more serious appeal was launched!

Learn more about this new association of volunteers who are engaging with NParks over mountain biking in their parks, contributing to advise on trails, conducting trail maintenance, enhancing communication with the community, etc. Find out more by "liking" the page at

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Dialogue with mountain bikers and upgrading works for 17-year old Bukit Timah Mountain Biking trail

"Makeover for mountain bike trail at Bt Timah," by Grace Chua. The Straits Times, 12 Mar 2013.

AN AGEING, fast-eroding mountain-biking trail at Bukit Timah may soon get a facelift to make it smoother and safer.

The National Parks Board (NParks) put out a tender for upgrading works to the 17-year-old, 7.5km route, which loops around the outer edge of the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.

The tender, which closed last month, attracted three bids between $398,009 and $497,830, but has not been awarded.

It details plans to improve trail drainage, remove chunks of tree trunks and re-route sections, among other measures.

The project will take about three months from the time the contract is awarded, and be done in sections while the rest of the biking-only trail remains open.

The mountain-biking community here is growing, and some 500 to 700 cyclists trundle through the trail on weekends, said NParks director of conservation Wong Tuan Wah. Such intense use, along with Singapore's heavy downpours, increases erosion.

"We aim to improve rider safety and experience, and make the trail attractive for responsible mountain-bikers of all competency levels," Mr Wong said.

NParks decided to upgrade the trail after a dialogue with members of the mountain-biking community. It also plans to invite them to trail-building and trail maintenance sessions, he said.

Avid mountain-biker Calvin Chin, 39, said the Bukit Timah trail is one of the most popular and accessible in Singapore. Others are at Tampines, Chestnut, Kent Ridge and Pulau Ubin.

Last year, NParks caught a group of bikers entering an illegal trail further north, closed off to recreational use because it passes through ecologically sensitive forest.

"We understand there are sound reasons behind why they don't want us to ride there," said Mr Chin, a supply chain manager and member of a community group that met NParks last year to advocate for bike-trail users. "But there are a lot more mountain-bikers, and trails are jam-packed."

Improving the Bukit Timah trail would help, as would adding new trails, he said.

Riders have started doing volunteer maintenance at other trails, such as the one at Kent Ridge.

"We hope that the provision of better mountain-bike facilities will help to discourage usage of non-designated trails," said Nature Society vertebrate study group chair Tony O'Dempsey.

But Nature Society president Shawn Lum said nature reserve visitors in general need to change their mindset, from that of "customers" to "co-owners", and not wander down closed paths, to let the forest regenerate.

Bukit Timah resident Vinita Ramani Mohan, 34, who lives close to the nature reserve, complained of noise from bikers there late at night, at around 10pm or 11pm.

"I would like to see bikers be a little more considerate to the nocturnal wildlife in the reserves and cease biking at night," she said.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

NTU Bike Rally 2013 sets off early tomorrow morning!

Bike Rally - Wheel you ride with me

At 5am on Sunday (03 Mar 2013) morning, participants will register at the NTU Chinese Heritage Centre (as they used to in earlier years like 2003), and prepare to set off for their 138km round-island ride.

Amongst the many cyclists will be undergrads trying out their FIRST round-island on rental bicycles! They will battle the distance, heat and thirst in a transforming effort to break new sport boundaries. All the best to them!

Have a safe ride at the Seen and Be Seen cycling event tonight!

All the best to the Seen and Be Seen cyclists attempting the 42km and 84km rides tonight.

This event looks set to the a fixture in an annual calendar of cycling events in Singapore.

See and Be Seen

Monday, February 25, 2013

RazorTV: multi-modal commuting: foldies and MRT/bus

"Bumpy ride for bike commuters" [04:27]. RazorTV, 24 Feb 2013
"Have you ever wanted to ride your bike to the MRT station, board the train with it, then ride home or to the office? Well, there are Singaporeans who have been doing just that, but it isn't all smooth riding for these so-called multi-modal commuters. Find out the challenges they face when they go bike-train-bike."

"Cyclists want bikes allowed on trains during peak hours" [04:03]. RazorTV, 24 Feb 2013

"According to avid bike commuters, the best way to encourage more people to pick up this method of commuting is to extend the hours for bringing folding bicycles onto trains. Find out what tops the wishlist of commuting cyclists in Singapore."

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Cycling in KL - feature by The Star (Living)

The Star's (Malaysia) Living section ran a three-page spread of the Cycling Kulala Lumpur, Bicycle Map Project on Monday.

The links to the articles begin with "Pedal for change," by Leong Siok Hui. The Star, 18 Feb 2013.
See also

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Utter joy - cycling the streets of KL!

Gong Xi Fa Cai folks!

This is a really happy memory from last month - the second OCBC Cycle Malaysia at Kuala Lumpur, on 19-20 Jan 2013!

134 ocbccyclemy2013
Jalan P Ramlee, Kuala Lumpur

I saw the advertisement last year and thought myself, 'January's too busy a time at work' and decided I could not go. But then Julian Lim from OCBC Singapore invited me along, urging, "Just come along and blog about it. Join a bunch of cyclists and go!"

Magic words. I am typically buried in the frenzy of starting up a semester at NUS in January which eats into my weekends. But I kept thinking about KL - I had walked those streets in the 80's and 90's and knew the layout well. It had changed dramatically and this would be the only way to ride the streets in the company of fellow cyclists.

After an unbelievable delay, I asked myself, "what's more important than cycling?" No answer to that so I agreed to go and began working to get ahead of my deadlines (and ignore a few). Then the cycling event was shifted a week to avoid a rally in KL - and that was perfect timing!

OCBC CYcle Malaysia - Kevin Lim on his Surly
Kevin Lim rides to meet point at Newton car park on his Surly,
all packed for an overnight stay in KL

We loaded up our bikes and warmed up to a constant chatter on the bus, between Julian, Kevin Lim and our new friends Shawn Chung and Adrian Tay. The conversation on the way up was ALL about cycling - bikes, gear, routes, safety, deaths, policy, local events, and stories from blog, videos and memories, both funny and sad. We talked until exhausted and then snoozed - mrbrown and Ryan were already in KL would add even more to the mix later.

That conversation, like a few more we had during the trip was instructive - if only we had video-ed those! It was great to hear so much constructive and very funny talk about Cycling in Singapore and the two days would transport me a lifetime away from the grind. Cyclists have lots of discuss and share even without an event, this shared, relaxed outing just amplified our discussions.

The roadie in our group, Shawn Chung, ready to ride like the wind!

So what's the verdict?

I had gone up eager to see if the event would be suitable for my cycling kakis, the Zendogs. I was happy to report back enthusiastically that we should definitely head up next year - in fact, I already paid up for OCBC Cycle Malaysia 2014!

The route in KL is more urban than the Singapore ride - it's really street-fare amidst the heart of KL town. Enough sweet little hills are interspersed during the ride to make it interesting but not too much so you'll break!

I actually did some sight-seeing during the ride and slowed down to enjoy the views. I recognise many of the old buildings and streets but the new ones flummoxed me. Some were vaguely familiar, having changed purpose. I understood the feeling Singaporeans must have when returning to our city after an absence of a few years.

OCBC CYcle Malaysia: The Challenge

At 48km long, the Challenge in KL is also a longer, more satisfying ride for me. I am used to fairly leisurely 60km and 80km rides on my mountain bike, and a half-century sprint is a unique and thrilling experience!

As the Challenge sees cyclists ride four loops of 12km, we are able to go faster during latter loops - well some of us as some others had over-stretched themselves in earlier laps. So by their third round, many cyclists were zipping down hill faster than 50km/h on what were now sun-lit roads. It was certainly exhilarating!

Oddly enough, those who took a toss (there were a few), seemed to have done so on relatively flat stretches of the course. One roadie left a kerb blood-splattered and I hope that looked worse than it was!

Jalan Dang Wangi, Kuala Lumpur

The road was not uniformly flat and sealed for sure, and pot holes peppered certain parts, and areas near construction sites were very rough. But that is really all regular city-fare. It did get splashy when water drained across the road unexpectedly. And a sump point appeared in the road too - but a large and loud road marshall positioned himself in front of the gap in the middle of the road and yelled strenuously for the entire duration of the ride, "Cyclists slow down!" His actions prepared us well kept us clear of danger; our hero for sure.

Mostly, the mountain bikers rode over problems, as did Kevin on his fat-tyre Surly. The thin-wheeled bikes were careful to manoeuvre around it all. I was on a relatively thin wheel for only the second time in recent decades and this made the ride much more interesting for me!

I loved the early start of 6.00am for we get to see the sun rise over the city. It did involve me frightening a hotel security guard at 4.30am though.

The poor chap was slumped over a chair, securing the door to the bike store. It took great effort to shake him out of his deep sleep and when he woke, he saw my helmeted, googled face peering down at him. Fear enveloped him and he jerked upright with an arm held out to protect his body! Adrian and I contained our laughter and I felt quite apologetic.

Eventually keys were produced for us to claim our bikes and head off to KLCC. We finally laughed about it later.

Adrian Tay (right) and myself; we scared the security guard
when collecting bicycles at 4.30am

A short part of the course was dark as we climbed uphill. Happily Kevin and I were sporting bright NightRider lights which lit the road. Our fellow cyclists thanked us, and we realised hardly anyone had strong front lights!

In this second year of the KL ride, some 5,000 people rode in various categories. I didn’t feel crowded, so the spacing of cyclists by timing worked well. Sure, there were a few tight spots but as always, safety above speed.

The Malaysian cyclists are chatty - one chap told me with concern to take it easy as I huffed and puffed up the first hill! I chatted with several others along various parts of the course and Kevin's Surly was a natural conversation opener especially with cyclists on lighter bikes.

It'd be nice to meet and chat with some of the Malaysian cyclists next year, before and after the event - read the blog posts in the links below and you'll realise they are kindred spirits!

Many friends are becoming regular recreational cyclists along park connectors in Singapore. They stay clear of our roads but enjoy the obstacle-free OCBC Cycle Singapore's 20 and 40km (Community and Challenge rides). If they want to add one more event, I'd recommend OCBC Cycle Malaysia, just a short bus ride away.

Certainly Zendogs will be adding this to our annual calendar alongside NTU Bike Rally and OCBC Cycle Singapore.

Ahem, Malaysian and Singapore PMs announced today, a high speed rail to create a 90min train ride between SG and KL by 2020. Link.

On the bus ride with us were two Singaporeans. They had taken up the rather quietly offered option of just a bus ride up to KL. They loaded their trusty bikes which they use on the PCN and had sussed out their own bargain accommodation in the city. When the bus dropped us off at the hotel, they simply cycled off to their nearby hotel.

They took on the foreboding 48km Challenge the next day, did well and travelled back with us, happy.


Jalan Pinang, Kuala Lumpur

My tweets tell the story: Saturday 19 Jan 2013
  • Cycling in KL with OCBC Cycle Malaysia!
  • Right on cue! Transporting bike in rain, will bring lube! RT@NEAsg: Heavy rain warning: thundery showers 7:20am
  • On the outskirts of KL, after a morning of bicycling conversation @motorman @mrbrown @brainopera @OCBCcycleMY #ocbccyclemy2013
  • Bus driver warns us, "Once in KLCC, cannot get out!". Sounds like KL needs more people on bicycle and less cars. #ocbccyclemy2013
  • Ooh goodness they're doing that horse dance at Jln P Ramlee, in front of start line of OCBC Cycle Malaysia Men's Open Criterium.
  • 050_ocbccyclemy2013

  • Watching Men's Open Criterium guys zip by in an hour over 50km @mrbrown @brainopera #OCBCcycleMY2013
  • Watching Open Criterium

  • The pro riders in the Men's Open Criterium whizz by in 2mins, shaking railings with their turbulence. Surprising number from Terengganu!
  • 061_ocbccyclemy2013

  • Remembering not to hi-five passing cyclists on their sprint lap around KLCC. They really shouldn't give me a media bib. #ocbccyclemy2013
  • One cyclist pulls out of Open Criterium, looks like he bust his chain. So it's not just me! #ocbccyclemy2013
Sunday 20 Jan 2013
  • All set for the the 48km ride; woke at 4am, prep, now to collect bikes and head to KLCC by 5.30am #ocbccyclemy2013
  • all set

  • @brainopera @motorman @mrbrown door to bikes locked, security says no one around. No signs left! Checking for access now. #ocbccyclemy2013
  • Shocked an exhausted security guard. Guess I look scary this early! I really need my bicycle! #ocbccyclemy2013
  • shocked security guard

  • mrbrown fixing the timing chip on his pink Moultin @mrbrown #ocbccyclemy2013
  • mrbrown pink

  • Watch my run right now with @RunKeeper Live… #RKLive #RunKeeper
  • OCBC Cycle Malaysia@OCBCcycleMY: Today is an exciting day ahead for everyone! The 48km Challenge Ride will begin in a few minutes. Share with us... Retweeted by @sivasothi
  • Start of the second OCBC Cycle Malaysia!
  • start of 48km


  • Taman Botani Perdana @OCBCcycleMY
  • taman botani perdana

  • Sharing the road, Jalan Dato Onn, start of second climb in The Challenge, #ocbccyclemy2013 my last of four laps
  • jalan dato onn

  • Ampang!
  • ampang

  • Just completed a 39.01 km run - OCBC Cycle Malaysia - with Kevin, Adrian, Shawn. #RunKeeper [was 48km but my iPhone GS was spluttering the GPS signal]
  • Foldies galore at OCBC Cycle Malaysia!
  • foldies galore

  • Nasi Lemak after OCBC Cycle Malaysia, nett caloric gain, but we're happy! #ocbccyclemy2013 @brainopera
  • nasi lemak

  • Riding back to the hotel. Traffic unleashed on Jalan Ampang but it's a wide road and Sunday.
  • riding back

  • @OCBCcycleMY eight of us from Singapore all agreed: lovely route, good job, thanks for the ride! Back next year with more, for sure.
  • Our bus heads south to Singapore as rain descends on KL. Fascinating lunch time chatter about incidents we witnessed during #ocbccyclemy2013
  • @motorman @brainopera @mrbrown @kcfevolve thanks for a great weekend guys. Precious times. Next: NTU Bike Rally?
Tuesday 22 Jan 2013
  • Julian Lim@motorman - OCBC Cycle Malaysia 2013 rough cut: via @YouTube Retweeted by @sivasothi
  • @Sivasothi: @motorman sweet!
  • Kevin Lim@brainopera: @sivasothi mrbrown motorman: Here's the heroic road marshal at #OCBCcycleMY2013 who stood in the middle of
heroic road marshal {brainopera)
  • Blog post (MY) - "OCBC Cycle Malaysia," by alchemyrider. Coming Home as a Roadie, 21 Jan 2013.
  • Blog post (MY) - "Kuala Lumpur - OCBC Cycle KL 2013," by Jotaro Zen. AhPek Biker - Old Dog Rides Again, 21 Jan 2013.
  • Blog post (MY) - "OCBC Cycle Malaysia 2013,":by Sam Cheong. The Samosauran Chronicles, Part 1, Part 2.
  • Blog post (SG) - "Chionging our way through KL at OCBC Cycle Malaysia 2013," by mrbrown., 22 Jan 2013.
  • Route - Kevin Lim's Runkeeper plot of the route
  • Photos - by Kelvin Lim on Facebook
  • Photos - by N. Sivasothi on Flickr
  • Photos, video - "OCBC Cycle Malaysia 2013: Racing with the Surley Pugsey," by Kevin Lim. YouTube, 23 Jan 2013.
  • Article - Downtown Cycling Fun," by Shawn Chung. Cosmone, 28 Feb 2013.
  • Video - OCBC Cycle Malaysia 2013 v2," by Julian Lim. YouTube, 26 Jan 2013
  • OCBC Cycle Malaysia: web, fb, twitter

OCBC Cycle Malaysia - SG group

"6.00pm the equinox" - Bike Hour on 20th MARCH 2013

A month to go…

Bike Hour says,

"The world’s biggest, completely unorganised, mass cycling rally will happen wherever you are, on March 20, between 6 and 7 pm. Why? Because you will be riding your bike.

Ride how you like, where you like, with whom you like, or ride alone. Just get on your bike and pedal the sucker. By doing so, you will be showing the world our staggering numbers, and unspoken yearning for safer, more edifying, cycling conditions."

Founder Steven Fleming from Australia adds, "Bike Hour is being championed in dozens of countries now. There's no head office. No royalties. No power to be gained. We would like to think that no one can own the idea."

Bike Hour takes place at 6.00pm on the Equinox, in March and September.

Just give a shout out on the Facebook page to cyclists around the world at

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

inSing feature: "Cycling as a way of life? It’s possible" feat Kevin Lim @brainopera

Kevin Lim explains in an inSing article, "Cycling as a way of life? It’s possible"
Cycling as a way of life It s possible  inSing com Features
"Cycling as a way of life? It’s possible," by Gregory Leow and Irene Lee. inSing, 05 Feb 2013. Updated 07 April 2014.
If there is one person who knows what it is like to brave Singapore roads on two wheels, it is Kevin Lim who works as an assistant director in the civil service. The 35-year-old, who cycles daily to work, took particular note of the news when Minister for National Development (MND) Khaw Boon Wan announced that cycling to work could be a way of life one day. Lim is already ahead of the pack. A year ago, he started cycling to work every chance he got, from his home in Sunset Way to his office at City Hall. He sets off 8am in the morning, rides along Ulu Pandan canal to Commonwealth Avenue, gets onto the Alexandra Park Connector, passes through Zion Road, Robertson Quay and Clarke Quay, and finally wheels up to his office at Victoria Street. He estimates that he travels 12km in just under an hour and at the end of the work day, he hops onto his bicycle and cycles back.When Lim first heard about the bicycle accident in Tampines that claimed the lives of two boys, he was saddened by the news because he says it only takes a bit of awareness and small changes to the traffic design to make roads safer for cyclists. Simply giving pedestrians and cyclists more rights on the roads like designated bicycle lanes or bolder pedestrian crossing lines would help tremendously. But he worries about the KPI (key performance indicators) driven work culture that pressures workers to be more productive. Like the cement truck driver involved in the Tampines accident, such work culture can lead to more reckless driving on roads. “The most important point is that no matter whose right of way it is, one should stay clear or slow down when there are children nearby. Back in the ’90s, there used to be dark blue road signs to indicate children at play, but I rarely see them now,” says Lim, who cycles to get “a sense of freedom” and for fitness. The tragic accident motivated him to head down to Tampines to examine what the traffic conditions are like. While he saw wider pedestrian paths for cyclists – as Tampines new town is designed to be bicycle-friendly – he also saw high vehicle traffic in the area. “You have no choice but to cross these streets located at critical traffic junctions,” he observes. Lim welcomes Minister Khaw’s announcement that more park connectors (PCN) and bicycle lanes will be built in the future to facilitate cycling to work. “Currently, PCNs will never get you all the way to your destination, which would be nice since cycling on them is less stressful than riding on the roads with traffic,” he adds. That would also counter the other problem he highlights, that Singapore has a high proportion of recreational cyclists who are not as cautious as veteran cyclists who ride on the roads regularly. “When they transition from PCNs to roads, they might not be aware or be overwhelmed by all the dangers around them. It takes time to get used to it,” says Lim. You have to be extra careful cycling on the roads as Lim has experienced dangers such as sleepy drivers and a lack of cycling road infrastructure. “More than one time, a bus or truck driver has cut in front of me while I’m cycling on the left side of the road, but they underestimate how fast cyclists actually are. I get forced against the kerb or I am made to slam on our brakes to avoid getting killed,” warns Lim, recounting a personal incident. “Cyclists should try to be as visible as possible, but always keep a lookout for bad drivers. Once you’re in a crash, cyclists rarely make it out alive to tell their side of the story.”

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Foldable Bikes in Trains and Buses - SMRT's FAQ

In response to several queries about bringing foldable bikes on to the MRT, the text from the SMRT's Rider's Guide FAQ webpage is reproduced below:
Fold it and Ride it - bicycles on MRT and Bus

Can I bring my bicycle on board trains and buses?

If your bicycle is foldable, you may bring it on our trains and buses. It should be folded while on board. You are responsible for its safe carriage and must not leave it unattended at any time. Your bicycle should also be folded at all times in the MRT/LRT stations, and bus interchanges/terminals. Note: Station staff and bus drivers may not allow foldable bicycles if a situation does not permit them to be admitted safely and without inconveniencing other commuters.

Can I bring my foldable bicycle on board anytime?

For the comfort of all passengers, your foldable bicycle can be carried onboard during the following times when our trains and buses are less crowded:
  • Mondays to Fridays, 9.30am - 4.00pm
  • Mondays to Fridays, 8.00pm to the end of passenger service, and
  • Weekends and Public Holidays: all day.

Are there specific train cars for foldable bicycles?

You are encouraged to use the first or last car which is usually less crowded.

How many foldable bicycles are allowed on the bus?

Only one foldable bicycle is allowed at any one time.

Is there a size limit?

Yes, your bicycle should not exceed 114cm by 64cm by 36cm when folded.

Are there guidelines on the condition of my foldable bicycle?

The wheels should be wrapped up if they are dirty or wet. Protruding parts, which may cause injury or dirty/damage property, should be covered up.

Where can I leave my bicycle when I’m in the train or bus?

You can leave it anywhere as long as it does not block aisles and doors or make it difficult for passengers to move. To minimise use of space, carry it in an upright position.

What else should I take note of?

Use lifts and wide fare gates at MRT/LRT stations, where available. Do approach our station staff or Service Leader if you need help.

Who can I contact to give feedback?

You may contact the Land Transport Authority (LTA) at 1800-2255 582 or email To download the brochure on foldable bicycle guidelines, click here. To view the Rapid Transit Systems (Amendment) Regulations for foldable bicycle, click here.
Reproduced from: SMRT

Friday, February 01, 2013

NUS road sign says, "Give way to cyclists"

A pleasant sign greeted me today as I walked along Lower Kent Ridge Road. It said, "Give way to cyclists".
20130201-NUS-give way to cyclists

The clue to this appears to be in the July 2009 report from NUS Office of Environmental Sustainability, "Study of Green Transport in NUS," by Tong Yiu Yan. The report set out to identify routes in Kent Ridge campus suitable to promote cycling or green transport options.

The second of two routes identified is from Kent Ridge MRT to the student centre at Yusok Ishak House, along Lower Kent Ridge Road.

Overhead Bicycle Network in NUS: Route 2

It is not clear if this suggests cyclists travel on pedestrian paths, or if to share the road. Read the report in the NUS OES Cycling Master Plan webpage.

Update (02 Feb 2013): Yiu Yan clarifies:

"Hi Siva,

one of the angles of the study was to access the gradients of the sections of possible routes: red being the steepest & green the easiest.

So cycling routes should avoid the red parts as much as possible. Given that it is mostly concentrated in the centre, a peripheral loop around the campus may work. A well designed "Circle Line" with trails leading inwards to various Schools can be considered.

Whether to share the route with vehicles or to dedicate a cycling path was not considered in the study. Hope this clarifies, thanks!"

Thanks Yiu Yan!

Meanwhile, do have a look at the Facebook pages of the OES and Office of Estate and Development. Perhaps plans to promote cycling in NUS will be revealed in time!

Motorcyclists and cyclist in collision at Bedok North Ave 3

"Another cyclist involved in road accident on Wed." AsiaOne, 31 Jan 2013.

SINGAPORE - In the wake of the tragic accident which killed two young boys on Monday, another road accident involving a cyclist was reported on Wednesday.

According to the Shin Min Daily News, the accident between a bicycle and a motorcycle occurred yesterday evening at about 5.30pm around Bedok North Ave 3.

An eyewitness told the Chinese daily that she saw the motorcycle colliding with the bicycle.

The cyclist, believed to be a man in his 50s, as well as the male motorcyclist, who looked to be in his 20s, laid by the side of the road in pain after the collision. The wheels of the bicycle appeared to be badly mangled.

The motorcyclist was ferrying a 8-year-old boy riding pillion at the time. The boy was seen sitting on the pavement with a dazed expression, Shin Min reported.

The eyewitness said a crowd of about 20 on-lookers gathered, with 4 or 5 offering their assistance the two men who were injured.

According to the police, the two men were conveyed while conscious to the Changi General Hospital, while the boy was sent to KK Women's and Children's hospital.
Investigations are on-going.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Katong Park detour - avoiding heavy vehicles at the Fort Road roundabout

Fort Road is a necessary evil for cyclists entering the relative haven of East Coast Park from the west. Even if you stay on the park connectors, you have to expose yourself briefly on this road. It terminates at what used to be Area A but has been a construction site for the longest time.

If you are early enough, you won't have to meet the tipsters, dump trucks, lorries and all sorts of heavy vehicles which use the area intensively during the day. Still, the road conditions are not the best as these vehicles tear up the asphalt regularly, or drip cement, so it's no joke for cyclists.

Using Fort Road to get to ECP
Getting to ECP via Fort Road

A brief error on the part of drivers is all it takes to snuff out a life instantly. It won’t matter then whose mistake it was. See "Straits Times: "Tipper driver jailed 7 weeks for causing cyclist's death".

Well, just watching those trucks roar by the roundabout making the road shudder made me feel most uncomfortable. So I looked for an alternative and found one in the form of pedestrian paths through ECP and Katong Park.

I'm not usually a fan of pedestrian paths as you encounter intersections you have to be careful about and pedestrians whom you must give way to. However, rather than battle with heavy vehicles, I've adopted this path when riding to or from ECP.

fort road feint - Google Maps
The detour alongside or through Katong Park

The brown circles denote zebra crossings or traffic light junctions. You have to stop and look at traffic before moving on even when the green man is lit, or stop for a red. The green man appears quickly after you hit the button, but even if it is in your favour, do check that a vehicle is not bearing down on you. Drivers can make mistakes, but you pay the price. so be cautious.

Once across, you can ride alongside Katong Park. If there are pedestrians, I do not like them to feel pressured by my presence so I prefer to ride through Katong Park, slowly.

Emerging at Meyer Road, it’s a straight ride down to Tanjung Rhu Road and on to Marina Barrage.

Try to stay safe on the road!

Tampines: Two brothers killed by cement truck

Title was originally "Tampines: Cyclist(s) knocked down.

Tampines, Singapore's first cycling town, appears to have witnessed a terrible accident.

Motorists passing the junction of Tampines Ave 9 and Tampines Street 45 at about 6.15pm today report at least one cyclist appears to have been knocked down by a cement mixer.


tampines street 45 - Google Maps

Ride safe everyone.

"2 boys killed in cement truck accident in Tampines," by Jennani Durai. The Straits Times, 28 Jan 2013.
"TWO brothers were killed in a gruesome traffic accident in Tampines earlier on Monday.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said it had received a call at around 5:43pm, and that the boys died after being hit by a truck at the junction of Tampines Ave 9 and Tampines St 45. The 13-year-old male cyclist and the 7-year-old male pillion were pronounced dead at scene by paramedics.

The younger boy was found in the uniform of Tampines North Primary School.

Police said that the 56-year-old Singaporean male driver of the truck was arrested at the scene.

Although they were found outside the school's gate, Dunman Secondary's principal Beatrice Chong confirmed neither boy was a student there.

Photographs of the accident have since been circulating online.

Police are investigating."

"Cement truck kills 2 boys at Tampines traffic junction," by Kimberly Spykerman. Channel News Asia, 28 Jan 2013.

SINGAPORE: Two brothers died after they were hit by a cement truck near Dunman Secondary School, at Tampines Street 45.

The 56-year-old Singaporean driver has been arrested for causing death by rash act.

At around 6pm on Monday, the Singapore Civil Defence Force received a call for help.

But when paramedics arrived at the scene, both boys, aged seven and 13, were pronounced dead.

A MediaCorp hotline caller said that the incident happened only 50 metres from the school gates, and that he saw a smashed bicycle lying near the boys.

Speaking in Mandarin, he said it was an awful sight and very upsetting.

Some residents who live in the area say that the area where the incident happened sees a lot of traffic, and can be dangerous.

Mr Zoe Jaffar, who has lived in the area for 16 years, said: "The traffic lights change quite fast, sometimes drivers tend to speed up to beat the traffic lights."

Another resident in the area, teenager Tan Khai Feng added that people sometimes also cross the road even though the traffic lights have not indicated that it is safe for them to do so.

Resident Lim Heng Chew said: "This is a hotspot for traffic accidents... (another boy) recently got knocked down by a taxi - the boy is my son's classmate."

He added that just a few months back, a Malay lady was also knocked down at the junction, and is worried because he has two school-going children."

- CNA/xq

MP for Tampines, Mr Heng Swee Keat shared through Facebook (Tuesday, 29 January 2013: 02:35),
"I am very saddened by the passing of two boys who were hit by a cement truck along Tampines Ave 9. They were brothers and the family is extremely distraught. My deepest condolences to the family. We’ll support them as best as we can. The Police will investigate this thoroughly, and schools will step up road safety education and work with the Police/LTA on further measures to enhance safety. Let us be sensitive and respectful, and not circulate photos about the accident. Let us give our thoughts and support to the family in this very difficult time."

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Straits Times: "Tipper driver jailed 7 weeks for causing cyclist's death"

"Tipper driver jailed 7 weeks for causing cyclist's death," by Elena Chong. The Straits Times, 21 Jan 2013.
A tipper truck driver was sentenced to seven weeks' jail and banned from driving for five years on Monday over a hit-and-run accident last November.

Sun Xiangjian, 37, was driving along the roundabout at Fort Road on Nov 17 when failed to keep a proper lookout ahead while approaching the slip road of East Coast Parkway.

The Chinese national hit a cyclist, Mr Li Jinwei, 46, also from China, who fell and was then run over by the the vehicle ran over him and his bicycle. He was pronounced dead at the scene about 20 minutes later. It was raining then.

Sun admitted to causing the death of Mr Li by negligence and failing to render help after the accident. Two other charges of failing to stop after the accident and removing his vehicle without police authority were taken into consideration. His sentence was backdated to Nov 19.

"Hit-and-run truck driver arrested over death of cyclist," by Karen Lim. Asia One, 18 Nov 2012.
SINGAPORE: A 36-year-old male truck driver has been arrested for his involvement in a fatal hit-and-run accident at Fort Road, which resulted in the death of a cyclist.

The victim, a 46-year-old man, was cycling along the roundabout of Fort Road on Saturday night when he was hit by an unknown vehicle.

He succumbed to his injuries and died at about 7pm.

Investigators from the Traffic Police started to trace the truck driver and learned through extensive interviews that a tipper truck had driven near the accident scene around the time of the accident.

After four hours of the accident, the tipper truck was found at Sungei Kadut. Damages on it matched the broken glass fragments found at the accident scene.

The truck driver was placed under arrest and his licence has been suspended with immediate effect. He is also facing hit-and-run charges.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Straits Times:: "Delivery driver jailed for causing cyclist's death along Changi Coast Road"

"Delivery driver jailed for causing cyclist's death along Changi Coast Road," by Elena Chong. The Straits Times, 14 Jan 2013.

"A delivery driver who fell asleep at the wheel and caused the death of a cyclist along Changi Coast Road was jailed for three weeks on Monday. Kong Shyh Pyng, 39, was also banned from driving for four years.

He pleaded guilty to falling asleep, failing to keep a proper lookout ahead and failing to exert proper control of the lorry which rammed into the back of Mr Tan's bicycle. Mr Tan was flung forward and run over by the lorry. He died on the spot.

The court heard that on May 26 last year, Mr Tan was cycling 150 to 200m ahead of three other cyclists when Kong's lorry hit him from behind. Kong's lorry was seen slowing down slightly and veering to the left. It mounted over the left kerb and veered right back onto the road and ran over Mr Tan who had landed on the centre right of the left lane.

Further investigations showed that Kong had fallen asleep while driving. Despite having driven past eight pairs of speed regulating strips, he had only woken up after hearing a loud bang and saw the back of the deceased's body on the centre of his front windscreen. Kong, the court heard, was also very familiar with that stretch of road and knew that cyclists frequented the road, especially on weekends."

See also news and letters about the Jude Alphonso Tan tragedy. E. g. from reports by May 2012.

See and Be Seen is back on 02 Mar 2013; register now!

See and Be Seen is Singapore's first night cycling event, organised to emphasise the importance of cyclists being well lit for safety. The event returns in Saturday 2nd March 2013 and registration is open now.

The year there is a 42km ($27) and 84km ($37) ride as participants are offered one or two loops of the Eastern Coastal Park Connector Network. Hop over to to find out more, register for the ride and secure your $50 goodie bag.

See And Be Seen

Today Online: OCBC Cycle Singapore, Malaysia; next, Cycle Asia with Indonesia, the Philippines and Australia

"Cycling boost with launch of Asian circuit," by Philip Goh. 18 Jan 2013.
KUALA LUMPUR - It started in 2009 with OCBC Cycle Singapore and was followed two years later by its Malaysian equivalent.

Yesterday, Singapore-based event management and marketing company Spectrum Worldwide announced a further expansion into the region for its popular community cycling carnival with the addition of three new stops - Indonesia, the Philippines and Australia - under a new Cycle Asia banner.

It also hopes to expand the Cycle Asia network to Cambodia, Hong Kong, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam in the next three years.

At its announcement in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, it was also revealed that a Cycle Indonesia is being planned for this June at Sentul City outside Jakarta, and a Cycle Philippines in Manila in October.

Chris Robb, Managing Director of Spectrum Worldwide, told TODAY the expansion caters to the growth of cycling across Asia and meets the demand for events from recreational and serious cyclists.

"The experience for participants will be similar to that of OCBC Cycle Singapore and Malaysia, where there will be community rides for kids and adults and events for serious riders," said Robb.

"Our festival format of mixing both amateur and professional-elite elements, combined with a Cycling and Lifestyle Village, a carnival and premier hospitality, has provided a growing number of cyclists with a fantastic platform to enjoy the sport."

The Gold Coast Festival of Cycling in September, organised by three-time Tour de France green jersey winner and festival ambassador Robbie McEwen, will also come under the Cycle Asia banner.

"Robbie is a big fan of Singapore; he sees the synergy of us being able to cross-promote his event on the Gold Coast, which is well-organised and has a great vibe about it," said Robb.

"It's great for us to be able to help encourage people to go to Robbie's event and, increasingly, cycling has bigger tourist implications.

"For example, we're working together with the Singapore Tourism Board to find ways to encourage more cyclists to come to Singapore and this network will provide opportunity for people to travel around the region and have family holidays (structured around cycling)."

Singapore Cycling Federation President Suhaimi Said believes Cycle Asia can boost the growth of elite cycling in the region.

"We can expand on the pro-criteriums to have nation- and Asia-wide criteriums to enhance the carnival beyond its community role," he said.

"We can also further strengthen the Asian Cycling Confederation, with these carnivals supporting the cycling events organised by the various national governing bodies in the region."

Singapore Cycling Fest 23-24 Feb 2013 - deadline extended for Guinness Cycling Convoy and The Green Day rides

There are two rides during Singapore Cycling Fest 2013 - the 28.6km Guinness Cycling Convoy (Sat 23 Feb 2012) and The Green Day (Sun 24 Feb 212).

Both have extended their deadlines so hop over to!

Singapore Cycle Fest - Event Details

Cycling the City with Druther's Bicycle Rental Singapore

When I visit cities overseas, I try to find a bicycle rental to ride around the town. It's a lovely way to discover interesting places, and lovely when there are safe routes for cyclists.

When friends visit Singapore, however, I usually suggest they cycle at Pulau Ubin. In recent yeas, however, park connectors have been gradually encircling Singapore and linking up. There are now safe routes through the city, which has many more interesting places in a small area and lots of great food. Ideal for a casual exploratory ride for locals and tourists alike.

I've always though, wouldn't it be great if there was bicycle rental in the city itself?

Well I was pleased to discover Druther's Bicycle Rental Singapore ( right in the city at Boat Quay!

Andrew Goh wrote me late last year to talk about his business. Druther's provides quality folding bikes (i. e. they aren’t $100 bicycles) and a map for self-guided tours. He can organise group rides to get to the city and good places for food stops, of course!

It's exciting to see a business like this open to locals and tourists alike. And just like bicycle rentals / city tours overseas, Druther's relies on Trip Advisor for reviews to spread the word.

From the comments there it seems Andrew has been delivering foldable bicycles to the various hotels and hostels which carry his flyers or notices. One reviewer said they received their bikes in 20 minutes so a spontaneous urge could lead to five hours of cycling! The rentals are available at night too.

Ash393 from Hong Kong says,

"I cycled from Boat Quay following the water around, crossing over bridges and seeing sailing boats in the harbour, passing by joggers running in the afternoon and walkers too.
I saw a lot of bars and restaurants where I could easily stop by and take a break. When I got tired of the the harbor, I went inland and cycled by parks and historic buildings and down city streets. I got some directions from helpful locals along the way.
I stopped at a food market and ate local Singaporean food. Singapore is relatively flat so cycling is always easy.
I thoroughly recommend cycling in Singapore, it made my trip unique and unforgettable, and it gave me another perspective of Singapore."


Andrew is keen that locals working in the CBD think about cycling after work, to enjoy foldables and a healthy lifestyle. Viewing photos on their Facebook page, I see some have begun to do so. It could be a nice way for me to meet up with my non-cycling friends in town after work, to get them to go for a spin before dinner.

(1) Druthers Bicycle Rental Singapore


Cyclists can venture further afield with a foldable bicycle, by going aboard the MRT and buses during off-peak hours [Mon-Fri: 9.30am - 4.00pm & 8.00pm to end of service; all day on weekends/public holidays.]. NParks has setup many Park Connector Networks around the island. Some are ideal to explore with interesting place to visit.

With a smart phone and data plan, Google Maps will free you up to explore many parts of Singapore - Druther's provides a bicycle lock. I'd suggest downloading a taxi booking app just in case you want to bail out for a ride and head back to town. With a foldable, that is easy.

How surreal that what I love doing overseas is now available in Singapore!

Druthers | Bicycle Rental Singapore. Hire a bike