Singapore is getting closer to a decision about legalising bicycle use on footways, at least in Tampines.
So I was pleased to stumble on a relevant paper. It focuses on Japan's experience. Since 1978 Japan has been the only major country to allow bicycle riding on most footway pavements. Scroll down for the author's conclusion.
Evaluation of shared use of bicycles and pedestrians in JapanAnd here is their conclusion:
Author(s): P. Zhe, H. Yamanaka & K. KakiharaAbstract:
Shared use of bicycles and pedestrians on sidewalks can be commonly seen all over Japan.
Cycling on sidewalks in Japan was permitted from 1978 following deregulation of the Road Traffic Law, which was urgent treatment to secure cyclists’ safety due to a lack of road space.
This was permitted on sidewalks with appropriate width and traffic conditions.
Although bicycles are still regarded as a vehicle and cyclists have to use the carriageway along with motor vehicles according to the Road Traffic Law, many bicycle users prefer to use sidewalks.
Cycle/pedestrian shared use would surely be disadvantageous related to the safety and amenity of pedestrians, and to the reduction of cycling speed.
Shared use with pedestrians, however, has advantages of safety and freedom for utility cyclists, which seems to be related to the fact that Japan has a high level of the modal share of bicycles used for going shopping or to school.
In addition, the number of women or aged users tends to be high compared with major motorized countries.
The aim of this study is to evaluate the level-of-service of shared use by pedestrians and bicycles, from the viewpoints of users’ safety and comfort considering traffic volume in shared use space.
By using a video survey of shared use streets, the authors analyzed the relationship between cycling speed, frequency of hindrance and traffic density or traffic volume of street users.
In conclusion, the author proposes the conditions necessary to apply shared use of bicycles and pedestrians on the sidewalks, considering the traffic flow of pedestrians and bicycles per width of sidewalks Keywords:
bicycle, shared use, level-of-service, Japan.
... Pages: 10
Size: 1,017 kb
"The authors analysed hindrance behaviour by considering traffic volume per sidewalk width of pedestrians and bicycles, and proposed the minimum level of traffic conditions needed to apply shared use of bicycles and pedestrians on the sidewalks. As a result the necessary condition to coexistence of bicycles and pedestrians was found to be less than 0.5 pedestrians/minute/m and less than 3.0cyclists/minute･m. The standard for pedestrian/bicycle share use in terms of hourly traffic volume is less than 26 pedestrians / hour and 108 cyclists / hour for 2m wide sidewalks.
In future studies we aim to look at development of education or information methods (signs, road marking, colouring, etc.) on the street for bicycles and pedestrians to ensure the safety and comfort shared use for utility cyclists."
My take on what this means for Singapore? If we do legalise pavement cycling, we should also make an effort to provide attractive detours for bicycle users to avoid busy sections of walkway OR dramatically widen the effective width of the pavement at busy sections.
The paper pdf is free to download but you need to register first.