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    May 26, 2016

    New bicycle safety course for students

    ON TOP of their usual maths or literature classes, secondary-school students might soon have another subject to take up - how to cycle safely.

    This new programme would cover basic bicycle handling skills, cycling etiquette and how to recognise off-road signs, among other elements.

    Called the Safe Cycling Programme, it was launched yesterday at Qihua Primary School by the Land Transport Authority (LTA), in tandem with the start of the Singapore Road Safety Month.

    The half-day programme for secondary schools will have both theory and practical sessions, said the LTA.

    Students will learn how to manoeuvre through crowded spaces, share paths with pedestrians and other cyclists, and pick the best routes to go by bike.

    The LTA said the programme will complement plans to boost active mobility here. Last month, the Government accepted recommendations from an expert panel to allow cycling on footpaths.

    These recommendations will be passed into law, likely by the end of the year.

    Parliamentary Secretary for Education Faishal Ibrahim, who also chairs the expert panel, noted in a speech yesterday that the new programme was "a follow-up" to the recommendations.

    It will help students "internalise what they need to do in real-life situations", he said.

    Yesterday, students from East View Secondary School took part in the pilot exercise, where they rode around a circuit within the Qihua Primary School compound, before venturing out to the Woodlands Park Connector.

    The programme will also be piloted at foreign-worker dormitories, schools and community centres, before it is rolled out to the public at the end of the year.

    Dr Faishal said it is important cyclists learn to share space with pedestrians.

    "We cannot always find space to build dedicated paths, and there will be occasions where cyclists have to share space with cars or pedestrians," he added.

    One of the programme's trainers, Steven Lim - who is the president of the Safe Cycling Task Force - said it was important to start cycling education with the young, to minimise conflict when the new rules kick in.

    While the programme is currently on an opt-in basis for schools, experts such as Mr Lim believe it should be made compulsory.

    "Hopefully, it can become like swimming classes in schools... We want children to pick up something about safe cycling and for this to become like a life skill," he said.

    Secondary 2 student Javon Low, 13, took part in the pilot and felt it was fun, safe and educational.

    "I learnt how to give way to pedestrians and how to signal to pedestrians before turning," he said.