Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Today: "Cycling on footpaths: Tampines extends trial"

"Cycling on footpaths: Tampines extends trial," by Neo Chai Chin. Today, 02 Jul 2008. Efforts to be stepped up to educate foreign workers, students on safe cycling.

THEY ride their bicycles at high speeds on footpaths, endangering and annoying the pedestrians in Tampines.

For this and other unsavoury cycling habits, foreign workers and schoolchildren are two groups that the town's cycling wardens will be focusing on in their safety education programme over the coming months.

Tampines' Cycling on Footways year-long trial, which ended on May 31, will be restarted for another six months — from Aug 1 to Jan 31 next year, Mr Mah Bow Tan, adviser to Tampines GrassrootsOrganisations (TGO), said yesterday.

While education efforts for the general public will be stepped up during the extension of the trial, the committee received "more feedback, more complaints about the two groups", said Mr Mah, who is also Minister for National Development.

Road safety videos will be produced in English, Bengali, Thai and Mandarin for the foreign workers to be distributed to their dormitories. The videos will be screened during the workers' rest and meal times, said Superintendent Lee Chee Chiew, deputy commander of the Traffic Police.

For the students, exhibitions and talks will be held at all primary, secondary and tertiary institutions in Tampines.

The videos and talks will emphasise safe cycling habits.

Mr Mah stressed the need to have proper facilities, public education aswell as enforcement in order for cyclingon footpaths to be feasible.

To cater to the growing number of cyclists, tenders have been issued for the construction of 2.3km of bicycle tracks and $1 million has been set aside for this pilot phase of the project, said Tampines Member of Parliament Ong Kian Min. Some footpaths will also be widened so that they can accommodate both pedestrians and cyclists.

Tampines' chief cycling warden and grassroots leader Steven Yeo said he hoped to recruit 90 more volunteers to add to the current group of 190 wardens to help spread the message of safe cycling.

On the enforcement front, Supt Lee said cyclists who ride in a disorderly manner can be fined $20 under Rule 10 of the Road Traffic (Bicycles) Rule, while those who ride in a rash or negligent manner endangering human life or causing injury can be jailed up to a year and/or fined$5,000 under the Penal Code.

The Cycling on Footways trial is a tripartite effort by the TGO, Singapore Police Force and the Land Transport Authority to study whether it is feasible for cyclists to share footpaths with pedestrians.

In a survey of 565 residents conducted by TSM consultancy from May to November last year, 57 per cent of non-cyclists and 73 per cent of cyclists supported the continuation of the scheme.

With fuel prices soaring, many Tampines residents welcomed the trial extension, saying that cycling would be a cheap mode of transport.

"Of course, it would be better if we could have more cycling tracks. They could even be used by people with baby prams," said Tampines Street 22 resident Mr Rahim, 44, who cycles to the market and hawker centre twice a week.


Anonymous said...

This is good, but more needs to be done to make Singapore bike-friendly.

"Of course, it would be better if we could have more cycling tracks. They could even be used by people with baby prams"

I really don't understand such sentiments.. People with prams should stay out of the cycling tracks.

Back2Nature said...

I hope this trial will succeed as I support idea of allowing cyclists to share footpaths, and also the roads. However, I prefer they would first consider widening the left most lane rather than the footpath.

It is nice that they have identified some real issues, specifically the need to educate the foreigners and students on safe cycling. I totally agree with the students' dangerous way of cycling.

However, I doubt foreign workers speed. Instead, my observation is the opposite: many India and China foreigners cycling on road are moving too slowly.

Basically, I hope they won't use one content and approach for the two groups. For the students, it is mainly the lack of maturity and experience in judgement. For the foreigners, it is the unfamiliarity of Singapore road culture and the assumption that it is the same as their home country, and it is not limited to those who cycle but all of them. E.g. whenever I ride into Little India, I have to recognize a different road culture of the pesdestrians there, who ignore the red and green man.