Wheelies news since 2013

Friday, 6 December 2013

Want to cycle? Balik Kampung la!

Singapore is a “FINE” city indeed! From a city where you can be fine for jaywalking, stealing wifi, feeding bird, bringing durians into public places, you would not want to bet against a law depicting fine for cycling. 

According to the Road traffic Act, Chapter 276, Section 140, Road Traffic (Bicycle) is an entire section dedicated for rules for cycling in Singapore. How many cyclists are aware of the details? I bet many wouldn't. Are you aware that you need to carry a lamp showing to the front a white light visible from a reasonable distance? Do you know a child below the age of 12 years may be carried on a properly constructed seat or carrier affixed to a pedal bicycle? What about the no load rule on any two-wheel bicycle that shall weigh more than 18 kg or be of such dimensions as to cause or be likely to cause danger, obstruction or annoyance to persons using the road, and every load shall be properly and rigidly secured to the bicycle. Limitations of height, etc. of load. The list is simply exhaustive and some mind blogging. So, don’t play play! You might had found yourself inevitably broken the traffic laws! 

You cannot cycle too. Please appear in court for your transgression!
So, with all these laws in place to ensure best behavior on the roads for cyclists, does it makes us a top bicycle friendly city? The answer is no. While we have laws to try to curtail bad behavior and cultivate good cycling habits, Singapore is still a long way from being a bicycle friendly city.

You might have wonder what actually makes a city a bicycle friendly city? According to the Copenhagenize index, a city is judge based on 13 categories:
  • Advocacy – Any NGOs initiatives?
  • Bicycle culture – Is it a main tool for commute?
  • Bicycle facilities – Bike ramps, space allocation for bicycle on public transportation?
  • Bicycle infrastructure – Separate bicycle track
  • Bike share program
  • Gender split
  • Modal share for bicycle – what % made up of cyclist
  • Modal share increase since 2006
  • Perception of Safety
  • Politics
  • Social acceptance – How do drivers and community regard cyclist
  • Urban Planning – How much emphasis on bicycle infrastructure
  • Traffic Calming – What efforts to lower speed limits
Below are the top 10 cities ranked by the index

Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Copenhagen, Denmark
Bogota, Colombia
Curitba, Brazil
Montreal, Canada
Portland, Oregan
Basel, Switzerland
Barcelona, Spain
Beijing, China
Trondheim, Norway

In the true tradition of Singapore where we aim for everything number one, Singapore will probably fall out of the top 100. The recent few high profile spats between cyclist and motorist probably indicates there is still a lot of work we need to do. 

Many cyclists in Singapore are facing he lack of cycling track for them to cycle in a safer environment and have to risk their lives by cycling on the roads in the current situation. In order to be a bicycle friendly city, more investments are needed for the bicycle infrastructure such as dedicated bicycle lanes, ramps, parking facilities. Currently, cycling in Singapore is only limited to the 200km park connectors developed by Nparks, which means that there will be significant risks if the cyclists decided to go onto the streets. According to traffic police data, there were 16 deaths and 557 injuries among cyclists in Singapore in 2010 alone. 

While we agree there is still a lot of improvements to be made, Singapore is not resting on its laurels. According to a latest government announcement on October 2013, there could be possibility that by 2030, cyclists could ride from their homes in the suburbs to work in the city via a comprehensive, island wide cycling-path network that stretches more than 700km. The aim is to provide "a seamless cycling experience," said Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew when he unveiled the master plan, which maps out Singapore's future land transport landscape. For more details of the master plan, you can visit http://www.lta.gov.sg/content/dam/ltaweb/corp/PublicationsResearch/files/ReportNewsletter/LTMP2013Report.pdf

Let’s hope by then, Singapore can indeed transform to a much more bicycle friendly city than today. In the meantime, if you really need to motor vehicles risk free cycling, you can take a bum boat from Changi point to Pualu Ubin and cycle there!! As the title suggests, balik kampung la!

Dedicated cycling lanes for cyclist!
Protected from vehicles!
Parking facilities for bicycles!

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