Oct 08, 2013

    Plans for cycling as alternative transport

    CYCLISTS can look forward to more off-road cycling routes here by 2030, with the completion of an islandwide cycling-path network spanning over 700km.

    About a quarter of this cycling network - or 190km - will be ready by 2020. Currently, a number of cycling paths here run alongside pedestrian paths, like those in Tampines and Yishun.

    This was announced as part of the Land Transport Masterplan 2013 at the inaugural Singapore International Transport Congress and Exhibition yesterday. It expands on the previous target of a total of 210km of cycling paths in 16 Housing Board towns by 2020, announced in March.

    Minister for Transport Lui Tuck Yew said the cycling network is part of a plan to "support more forms of alternative transport", and aims to provide a "seamless cycling experience".

    Another 2,400 bicycle racks will be added at some 20 MRT stations by the end of the year, to make it more convenient for cyclists to park their bicycles. More racks will be added next year.

    Cyclists like Mr Francis Chu, 53, were cheered by the news. "The cycling-path network will make it safer for those who use bicycles as their daily mode of transport," said the co-founder of cycling group Love Cycling SG.

    Consumer-issues associate Wayne Tan, 25, who lives in Boon Lay, said having designated cycling paths reduces the risks that cyclists would face on the roads, and the chances of them running into pedestrians.

    But residents like undergraduate Aloysius Tan, 23, said it is important that cyclists and pedestrians stick to their respective paths to avoid crashing into each other.

    For the cycling-path network to work well, cyclists and pedestrians have to be more receptive towards each other, said transport researcher Lee Der Horng of the National University of Singapore. For example, cyclists should slow down when they encounter pedestrians.

    "Singaporeans might know how to ride bicycles, but many don't know how to do so in the proper way," he said, adding that cyclists need to be aware when people are in the vicinity.

    Ms Irene Ng, a Member of Parliament for Tampines GRC, said the cycling paths in Tampines - dubbed a cycling town - have served residents well so far.

    Many of the walkways in the town have clearly marked paths for cyclists and pedestrians, and this has helped to improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians, said Ms Ng, who is also chairman of the Tampines Cycling Town Committee.

    "Now that it is legal to cycle on footpaths in Tampines, we can deploy our wardens to educate cyclists to ride safely on footpaths, to keep left and to give way to pedestrians at all times," she said.

    Mr Lui also announced yesterday that the first stage of the Downtown Line will be opened on Dec 22. It will have links with three other MRT lines: the Circle Line, North East Line and East-West Line.

    Findings of the Household Interview Travel Survey 2012 were released yesterday. They showed that more people are opting to take public transport during peak hours, with those taking public transport up from 59 per cent in 2008 to 63 per cent last year. The target is 70 per cent by 2020.