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.

Cycling in Singapore

Two meetings and an email dialogue between transport and urban cycling enthusiasts revealed many interesting issues, views and solutions. In order to allow this content to reach a wider audience, this blog was created. It is a quick and easy means of sharing their information and a first step.

I subsequently added some relevant posts from my personal blog that predates thsi blog but this was when we got started - 19 Aug 2004.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Toronto pavement cycling: more collisions but less severe

In 2003, the City of Toronto published a Bicycle/Motor-Vehicle Collision Study, based on 2,572 car/bike collisions reported to their police between 1997-1998.

From the report: "Almost 30% of the cyclists involved in reported motor vehicle collisions were cycling on the sidewalk immediately prior to their collisions" - making sidewalk (or pavement as we like to call it here in Singapore) cycling the most likely cause. However, the injuries on sidewalk were less severe than those cycling on roads.

"Young cyclists were much more likely to have been riding on the sidewalk than were adults" - Amongst cyclists involved in collisions:
<18 years old: >50% were sidewalk cycling
>+ 18 years old: <25% were sidewalk cycling.

Frequency of collisions involving sidewalk cycling
Outer areas of city: 46% (522 cases)
Central area collisions: 13% (188 cases).
Think of Punggol, Sengkang and Pasir Ris as outer areas and this is an interesting observation.

Read more:
Toronto Bicycle/Motor-Vehicle Collision Study (2003),
Toronto Cycling Map: Tips for avoiding car-bike collisions.

First posted in Otterman speaks.