Three cheers for all the bicycle policies in the new transport policy paper?
Hmm... Maybe one-and-a-bit cheers. But with some reasons for optimism.
The good news?
The recently released land transport policy paper, known as the Land Transport Master Plan: A People-Centred Land Transport System", DOES mention bicycles as a legitimate mode of transport!
This is worth a small cheer since neither MOT nor LTA have shown much enthusiasm or leadership on bicycle transport in the past.
The cover logo includes a cycling symbol along with the various other land transport modes. Recognition as a mainstream mode of transport! (By the way, is there symbolism in the location of each mode of transport, with buses and trains at the top and cars and motorcycles at the bottom? And if so, note where the bicycle is.)
The report includes this fairly positive statement:
With its increasing popularity, cycling can be a non-motorised transport option to bring commuters to major transport nodes.
Another positive sign is the branding of the report as being about "ensuring a liveable city". Bicycles could obviously play a big part in a goal like that.
The not-so-good news?
Unfortunately the details on bicycles (reproduced below) seem like a bit of a let-down. [My comments are in brackets]:
- Provide better bicycle parking facilities around MRT stations and bus interchanges
[This is nice. SMRT and SBSTransit have been doing this for a long time but the facilities do certainly need to be better. So let's hope this will bring shelter for bicycle parking, better quality parking racks, the option of supervised, secured parking for bicycles, etc.]
- Allow foldable bicycles onto buses and trains on a trial basis
[Um. But the MRT system had already been allowing folding bikes! So saying this is to be a trial seems like a step backwards.]
- Close short gaps between the park connectors and transport nodes to cater to commuters who cycle to the MRT stations or bus interchanges.
[This is certainly a good idea. But what about the gaps in the PC network itself. And why focus only on gaps between PCs and 'transport nodes'. Why not fill gaps between PCs and important destinations like Town Centres, employment nodes and the City Centre?]
- Install appropriate road signs to alert motorists to the presence of cyclists along frequently used routes. [Useful. It is good that this acknowledges and affirms that bicycles are legitimate users of the roads. But so much more needs to be done that this seems a little lame.]
What is going on?
I have to admit that I was initially discouraged by the bicycle aspects of the Master Plan.
But on reflection, I do now see some hopeful signs.
I get an impression of the beginnings of a change of attitudes towards bicycles as transport. [Or am I a hopeless optimist?]
I suspect that some key people in MOT and LTA may have realised that bicycle use is not fading away. In fact it is increasing. Perhaps some decision-makers even see some opportunities in the idea of making bicycles a bigger part of our system.
However, I wonder if anyone in LTA has much of a clue how to do better? They may be starting to ask the question. But they don't know the answer. Never mind. This is a start!