Thursday, August 19, 2004

A blind spot in Singapore's transport policies?

Since I arrived in Singapore almost 4 years ago it has often struck me as strange that this city state, which is so famous for its progressive and pragmatic approach to urban transport policy, seems to have such a blind spot towards bicycles. It seems odd because most other places that restrict cars and promote public transport (as Singapore does) also tend to make huge efforts to make walking and cycling attractive, since they complement public transport so well.

There are some bright spots for cyclists in Singapore, such as the growing network of bicycle paths in parks and park connectors, and the bicycle parking provided at many MRT stations, but mostly the official attitude seems to be something like, 'if we ignore them, maybe they will go away'.

Amazingly, cycling in Singapore is not going away. Sure, it is a minority thing, but the numbers of people cycling regularly are obviously far from trivial. In fact, leisure cycling seems to be taking off in a big way recently. I wonder if maybe a slightly different official attitude might be more useful?

I don't think even the die-hard bicycle fanatics imagine cycling will ever be the main mode of transport in any modern city. I certainly don't. However, maybe we can dream that cycling could be made a little safer and more comfortable, for the many who still choose to cycle despite the danger and hostile road environment. Perhaps we would even find that cycling has the potential to play a useful part as a niche in a 'seamless, integrated, world-class transport system' and complement all the other choices.


Chu Wa said...

Sharpe observation.
The fact that cycling is not going away dispite the unfavorable condition says a lot about the strength of this mode of transportation.

Anonymous said...

well, I happened to chance upon yr site, just wanna say that I'm 1 of those mad ppl who ride all over the country on a MTB, and I don't take public transport.