Saturday, December 08, 2007

Official launch of the Eastern Coastal Park Connector Network

In 2002, the Ministry of National Development's Parks and Waterbodies Concept Plan, prepared in preparation for the Master Plan 2003, stated:
"Today, we have 40 km of park connectors. The challenge is to build 3 times more green connectors or another 120 km to complete an island-wide network by the year 2015."

The 42km Eastern Park Connector Network was just officially launched after the completion of the 7.9km stretch between Changi Beach Park and East Coast Park. The Network comprises the Bedok, Changi, Coastal, Loyang, Pasir Ris, Siglap and Tampines park connectors.

"Scenic network in the east," by Lin Yanqin. Today, 8th Dec 2007. Parks linked by new 7.9km connector.

NO NEED to limit yourself to visiting just one park over the weekend - the newly-completed Eastern Coastal Park Connector Network will allow lovers of the outdoors to visit at least three.

The 42-km network, built at a cost of $22 million, links up the popular East Coast Park, Changi Beach Park and Pasir Ris Park, and other parks in the east, such as Bedok Reservoir Park.

Officially launched by the Minister for National Development Mah Bow Tan, the network is the first to be completed out of the planned total of seven throughout the island.

Eventually, major recreational spaces and housing estates will be connected.

The link also provides shortcuts to housing estates, Mass Rapid Transit stations and schools.

The latest stretch of the eastern network to be completed - a scenic 7.9-km route that links Changi Beach Park to East Coast Park - brings the total length of completed park connectors to 100km.

NParks Eastern Coastal Network Connector

A western park network is in the works. And upcoming inter-park connectors include the Central Catchment Area, Punggol Park and Sungei Pangsua in the west.

Said Mr Mah: "The park connector network is an important part of our plans to transform Singapore into a 'City in a Garden' ... with green lungs set among buildings and built-up facilities.

With the completion of the Eastern Coastal Park Connector Network, Singaporeans can use it to get from their homes to the parks."

For instance, Tampines residents can jog, walk or cycle their way to the popular Pasir Ris Park through the connector.

Taking a spin through the new park connector was a team of 12 cyclists from the Ministry of National Development, who were symbolically flagged off for their 25-day cycling expedition in New Zealand to raise at least $100,000 for charity.

From the Channel NewsAsia report:
By 2015, NParks hopes to construct 200km of park connectors - to date, half of that has been built. More will be added beyond 2015. NParks' eventual goal is to create a connector network linking up the whole of Singapore.

NParks said it has taken special care to preserve the natural environment. Kalthom Abdul Latiff, Assistant Director, Park Connectors and Special Projects, NParks, said, "We try to preserve the rustic nature as much as possible. We do not want to change the ambience, (we want to) keep it rustic, so that people will get a different experience."


See other park connector posts in this blog.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Cycling in Copenhagen

cyclechicscreensaverhttp.jpg (image) is "about bicycle culture in Copenhagen, Denmark [where]. 35% of the population - 550,000 people - ride their bike to work or school each day."

"Perhaps we can inspire people in other countries to commute by bicycle or lobby for better bike conditions in their cities by providing a portrait of a city that lives and breathes bikes. At the very least, enjoy the view from our saddles."

They have a sister blog called Cycleliciousness - Copenhagen Bike Culture Blog - "less fashion and more stats and inspiration."

The City of Copenhagen biannual Cycle Policy Report (2006) finds that "73% of Copenhageners DON'T ride for recreation. The bike is not a hobby article used for recreation or excercise. It is transport."

It's a lovely change from the usual - "Such is the season here in Copenhagen. Long jackets, high boots, patterned bags and the everpresent wonky old Raleigh bike." Hop over and get a glimpse of cycling nirvana!

"Bicycle stopping at traffic junctions"

It was nice to read about his strategy. I do the same, for the same reasons. the thing to note is the thought process. Have reasons for your actions on the road.

Bicycle stopping at traffic junctions « Arson and Arsenic

"Bicycle stopping at traffic junctions," by arsonandarsenic. Arson and Arsenic, 26 Oct 2007.

Via One Less Car via Leafmonkey.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

BBC's Top Gear: Get me to the airport in time (bus/tube, bike, car or boat?)

The British car television program Top Gear finds out the fastest way to get to the city airport through rush hour London - public transport, car, bicycle or speedboat?

In three parts on YouTube:

Thanks to Alvin Wong for the alert.

His take - it's crazy and hilarious; crazy Brits! Wonder what will happen in Singapore if someone tried the same thing - the cyclist will win if if was a short distance within city (must not have a highway component), and the boat will win to a downtown location close to the Singapore River. In an case, public transport sure lose (too many stops)!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Tampines pavement riding trial - "a half-baked idea?"

Popular Singapore blogger Lee Kin Mun better known as Mr Brown writes about his new ride and goes on to write about riding in Tampines, and ends up with some choice words about the pavement riding trial that began there in May 2007.

"...who came up with the dumb idea of those bike lanes alongside pedestrian walkways?

Bikes belong to the road, not the pavement.

There were so many Dismount and Push signs along the new Bicycle cum Pedestrian footpaths in Tampines, you may as well cycle on the road. If you ever tried to cycle at East Coast Park, you will understand how hard it is to avoid humans on pavements.

In fact, I felt more vulnerable at the crossings while riding on the path. You are better off teaching drivers to share the road with cyclists, and teaching cyclists to ride defensively and safely, than to give riders a false sense of safety on those pedestrian pavements. And if you want to give cyclists their space, do it on the road, with bike lanes, instead of footpaths."

Eventually, he says:

"I just want safer roads to ride on. Not half-baked ideas like the Tampines pavement cycling trial."

See "My new ride II: Specialized Hardrock Comp Disc 2006," by Lee Kin Mun., 01 Oct 2007.

Safer in Sydney: 50% increase in cyclists but death and injury numbers stable

"Safety argument against cycling doesn't travel," by Sunanda Creagh. Sydney Morning Herald, 08 Oct 2007.

Roads and Traffic Authority figures obtained by the Herald show that while the number of cyclists has jumped 50 per cent in the past three years, cyclist death and injury numbers have remained relatively stable over the past decade.


The chief executive of Bicycle NSW, Alex Unwin, said the figures showed motorists were becoming more aware of the approximately 3000 cyclists who rode into the city every day. "There would be other factors like the increase in off-road cycling paths, education programs and people riding together," he said.

"Cycle count data shows that commuters into the city has gone up by about 50 per cent in the last three years. This is on the back of improved infrastructure like the Anzac Bridge pathway, but petrol prices, health and greenhouse gas also contribute."

Bikes now outsell cars every year and enrolments for National Ride to Work Day on October 17 are up 300 per cent.


Thanks to John Larkin for the forward.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

If I were the Transport Minister...

I will make Singapore a paradise for cyclist, pedestrian and motorist. But it's impossible, according to the usual logic: when you optimize the roads for cyclist, motorist will suffer. That is, if you allow the number of cars to grow beyond the roads can handle.

I was in Penang recently, judging from the number of cars there, I will assume Penang is now more "prosperous" than Singapore. My sister's 4 members family has 4 cars, because it is a necessity there. Poor public transport, unsafe road condition for cyclist, couple with cheap gasoline and zero down payment for new car purchase are all reasons which create the situation now. Penang is now more polluted, more noisy and the roads are more dangerous than before. Ironically, the traveling is not faster; heavy traffic jam makes travel time unpredictable. Every new car added into the system is making it worst.

To me this is an illustration of how things can go wrong when the transport policy try to satisfy the majority's aspiration of owning a car. Car is not just a transportation tool, it is also a powerful polluter. Even hybrid car can not avoid polluting the environment, it only shift the location from the road to the factory where the fuel is produced. And hybrid car also can kill just like a normal car can.

A better alternative will be to enhance the synergy between cycling and walking with public transports. Good examples like Holland, Denmark and Germany (now Paris) shows that this is desirable. If 30% of car drivers attracted to cycle/walk/bus/MRT, there will be sufficient space to provide beautiful cycling paths all over Singapore. A lot more people will find it attractive to cycle because it is safe, clean, convenient and fun. Roads will become safer, air become cleaner and elderly will be able to do marketing or visit their grand son on the other side of the road safely. When there are fewer cars on the road, the remaining drivers will find driving a lot more relax and enjoyable, only they have to pay the real price, considering the pollution factor.

You can also play the "Transport Minister" game here, make sure you check the "Do You Know?" button during the quiz:

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Love Song for the Road Cyclist

There's so much hype about cycling on footpaths. Pedestrians and motorists alike complain about the position of the cyclist. Some errant motorists have even come out to publicly thrash that cyclists have no right-of-way on the roads. Thanks to their impatience, lack of education, lack of social grace and understanding, and absolute lack of human respect. I'm compelled to plead motorists to SHARE the roads with other road users - and this includes cyclists, pedestrians, and our mobility-challenged friends.

This song, sung to the tune of Elton John's 'Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word', was written by me while I was in a cab on my way back to the office.


What did I just do to make you honk me?
What did I just do to make you curse?
What do I do when drivers cut me,
when I get squeezed like I'm not there.

What do I do to make you want me?
What have I got to do to be heard?
What do I say when it gets ugly?
When SHARING seems to be the hardest word.

It's sad, so sad
It's a sad, sad situation
And it's getting more and more absurd
It's sad, so sad
Why can't we talk it over
Oh it seems to me
That SHARING seems to be the hardest word

What did I just do to make you honk me?
What have I got to do to be heard?
What can I do when drivers cut me?
What have I got to do?
What have I got to do?
When SHARING seems to be the hardest word.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Tampines pavement cycling trial begins

"Cyclists take to footpaths," By Grace Chiang. TODAY, 15 May 2007.

Tampines trial to assess safety of bikers and pedestrians

Gracia Chiang

IT IS a common dilemma for cyclists: Do they cycle legally on the roads, where they risk being knocked down by motor vehicles, or cycle illegally on pedestrian paths?

Soon, a small group of them living in Tampines may not have to worry - as the authorities are reviewing legislation after cycling on footpaths has been banned for more than 20 years.

With cycling increasingly popular in the heartlands, the Land Transport Authority, Traffic Police and Tampines grassroots organisations will be conducting a study to assess the feasibility of allowing two-wheelers on footpaths.

For a year from May 27, cyclists in the town will be exempted from Rule 28 of the Road Traffic Rules.

Tampines was picked because of its large cycling population and well-used park connectors. From her door-to-door visits, Tampines GRC Member of Parliament Irene Ng noted that at least three in 10 homes have bicycles.

The study will help the tripartite committee to understand "if Singaporeans are generally ready to share the footways". The town will have the option of making the arrangement permanent if the trial is successful, said Mr Ng Guat Tin, the Traffic Police deputy assistant commissioner.

This programme may be one way to curb the increase in the number of accidents involving cyclists on the roads. There were 507 cases last year compared to 376 in 2005.

Despite the ban, in practice, the Traffic Police does not penalise those who cycle on footpaths unless they are reckless, which is why many cyclists think the law should be scrapped. Twenty-one cyclists were issued summonses for cycling along footways last year, up from 19 in 2005, and 10 in 2004.

Said the president of Singapore Amateur Cycling Association Victor Yew: "We don't want to feel afraid that we may be doing something illegal when we ride on the pavement."

Housewife Linda Chan, 36, who cycles to her son's kindergarten every day, uses the designated cycling paths whenever possible, but said it is "so much more convenient to ride on the pavements". "I cycled on the roads until a few years ago - when I almost lost control of my bicycle because of a speeding car," she said.

But others feel lifting the ban may result in more danger for elderly pedestrians. Tampines resident Zhang Fa, 62, said: "Young cyclists who ride very fast have almost knocked me down more than once. I think this will just make it worse."

An independent consultant has been appointed to evaluate the study. More than 80 cycling wardens will be deployed in Tampines to encourage safe cycling and reward gracious behaviour.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Women cyclists more at risk of death

Women cyclists are more likely to be killed by lorries than men because they obey red lights and then wait in drivers' blind spots.

Research by Transport for London, which has been kept secret since last July, suggests that cyclists who jump red lights may be safer than those who stick to the law.

Read more (read the comments as well)

Any street-savvy tips for Singapore?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Building a better bike lane

The WAll Street Journal
May 4, 2007; Page W1

COPENHAGEN -- No one wears bike helmets here. They're afraid they'll mess up their hair. "I have a big head and I would look silly," Mayor Klaus Bondam says.

People bike while pregnant, carrying two cups of coffee, smoking, eating bananas. At the airport, there are parking spaces for bikes. In the emergency room at Frederiksberg Hospital on weekends, half the biking accidents are from people riding drunk. Doctors say the drunk riders tend to run into poles.

Flat, compact and temperate, the Netherlands and Denmark have long been havens for bikers. In Amsterdam, 40% of commuters get to work by bike. In Copenhagen, more than a third of workers pedal to their offices. But as concern about global warming intensifies -- the European Union is already under emissions caps and tougher restrictions are expected -- the two cities are leading a fresh assault on car culture. A major thrust is a host of aggressive new measures designed to shift bike commuting into higher gear, including increased prison time for bike thieves and the construction of new parking facilities that can hold up to 10,000 bikes.

The rest of Europe is paying close attention. Officials from London, Munich and Zurich (plus a handful from the U.S.) have visited Amsterdam's transportation department for advice on developing bicycle-friendly infrastructure and policies. Norway aims to raise bicycle traffic to at least 8% of all travel by 2015 -- double its current level -- while Sweden hopes to move from 12% to 16% by 2010. This summer, Paris will put thousands of low-cost rental bikes throughout the city to cut traffic, reduce pollution and improve parking.

The city of Copenhagen plans to double its spending on biking infrastructure over the next three years, and Denmark is about to unveil a plan to increase spending on bike lanes on 2,000 kilometers, or 1,240 miles, of roads. Amsterdam is undertaking an ambitious capital-improvement program that includes building a 10,000-bike parking garage at the main train station -- construction is expected to start by the end of next year. The city is also trying to boost public transportation usage, and plans to soon enforce stricter car-parking fines and increase parking fees to discourage people from driving.

read more..

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Introducing people to the joy of cycling on park connectors - Terra Outdoors (ST, 02 May 2007)

"Connecting with the great outdoors," by Tan Hui Yee. The Straits Times, 02 May 2007.

A hidden network of green-lined paths that criss-cross the whole island is just calling out to be explored, as Tan Hui Yee discovers

Unnoticed by many, there is a secret world of backlanes by quiet brooks and shaded paths that take you from the sea to the heart of the land through sleepy housing estates.

These are the park connectors in Singapore - stretching over 74km now - which allow users to run, walk or cycle from one green lung to another with ease. By 2015, the network will stretch over 170km, creating an intricate network of green-lined pathways all over this 700 sq km of an island.

Some parts are more well-used than others, but they generally don't get as much attention as the more well-known green spaces like East Coast Park.

Adventure group Terra Outdoors hopes to change that, by introducing people to the joy of cycling on these trails. Run by avid sportswomen Boey Lai Wan and Chow Suet Ling, both 29, it also conducts basic cycling courses for beginners and takes them on rides around these trails.

Ms Boey told Mind Your Body: 'It's a different way to take in Singapore. There are places that you never knew existed, where motor vehicles have no access.

'Because the park connectors are so quiet, they are good places to relax at the beginning and end of each day.'

Depending on which route you take, there are varied sights. Those who venture out west along Sungei Ulu Pandan would spot egrets, which roost at night in the compounds of the Jurong BirdPark. Herons, woodpeckers and kites can also be seen.

Venture closer to central Singapore, down the Kallang River, and you get to view the charming St Andrew's School, a cluster of conserved buildings built from the 1940s onwards.

The eastern route, which Mind Your Body explored recently with Terra Outdoors, takes you from Pasir Ris to East Coast Park. Along the way, there are mangrove swamps, a fishing pond, a reservoir, as well as an interesting undulating ride on a trail near Bedok Reservoir.

The National Parks Board plans to introduce integrated bike rental services along the eastern park connector, which links up Bedok Reservoir Park, SunPlaza Park, East Coast Park and Changi Beach Park.

This means that people may soon be able to rent a bicycle at one park and return it at another when they are done with cycling.

Park connectors are mostly flat, so cycling on them is not physically demanding. However, cyclists have to be careful to avoid pedestrians who occasionally stray into their path and be prepared to get off their bikes and push them across pedestrian crossings and overhead bridges if needed.

The routes can sometimes be blocked by construction work, so be aware of surrounding traffic when making detours on the road. As with cycling in other conditions, be sure to check your bicycle's brakes and gears before moving off, and wear a helmet as well as bright or light-coloured clothing to be more visible, especially when riding at night.

Happy wheeling!

More information on Terra Outdoors can be found at

See Park Connector Maps in Habitatnews Flickr album.

Pasir Ris Park to East Coast Park
(Tampines Park, Bedok and Siglap Park connectors)

THE RIDE (ABOUT 15KM) Follow the Tampines Park Connector from Pasir Ris Park, which starts near where Sungei Tampines drains into the sea. The connector traverses the river southwards, bringing taking you past Downtown East on your left and, across Pasir Ris Drive 3, a (not really busy) fishing pond in the town park. At the Tampines Expressway, cross south and head west to continue along the connector till you reach SunPlaza (one word) Park. Follow the signs leading you to Bedok Reservoir Park through Tampines, then continue onward via Bedok Town Park to the Siglap Park Connector. You will need to cross the Pan-Island Expressway by an overhead bridge before continuing your journey alongside Siglap Canal. Along the way, you will also cross East Coast and Marine Parade roads, and pass St Patrick's School on your right. Finally, take the underpass that will lead you to East Coast Park, near Carpark 3.

THE SIGHTS There are many signs along this route to point you in the right direction. Kingfishers can be spotted along the Siglap Canal, and you will pass by a variety of housing estates – from spanking new condominiums to pleasant public housing blocks and sleepy private homes with back gates opening onto the park connector. The cluster of schools in the Marine Parade area – St Patrick's, CHIJ Katong Convent and Victoria Junior College – also make an engaging sight.

WATCH OUT Although there are many things to see, the path can be narrow at times so watch out for pedestrians. A Part of the route is involves riding through Tampines New Town, which can get quite busy and crowded. The good thing is that pavements there are divided into bike and footpaths. Take a map with you as there are many roads to cross.

Buona Vista to Jurong Hill (Ulu Pandan and Jurong connectors)

THE RIDE (ABOUT 25KM) Starting from the canal opposite Buona Vista MRT station, follow the Ulu Pandan Park Connector westwards, across Sungei Pandan, and past the International Business Park on your left. Once you hit Boon Lay Way, follow this road westwards, passing Chinese Garden MRT station and Jurong Lake on your left. Turn left into Yuan Ching Road, and get onto the Jurong Park Connector just south of Lakeside MRT station. Follow that path along Sungei Lanchar, until you reach the Ayer Rajah Expressway. Cross under the highway and you will find yourself at Jurong BirdPark. Then take a deep breath and pedal up Jurong Hill Road to reach the top of the 60m peak.

THE SIGHTS This scenic ride is a treat for birdlovers as herons, egrets, woodpeckers and even parakeets can be found in the woodlands around the Ulu Pandan connector. Jurong Lake, which you will pass, is a rest stop amidst tranquil surroundings. For those who persist till the end, there is a three-storey spiral lookout tower on top of Jurong Hill from where you can catch 360-degree views of the area. There's also a restaurant serving Japanese and Indonesian food if you need to refuel for the return journey.

WATCH OUT You will need to cycle by some roads to get from one park connector to another, as well as cross some roads, so ride safely and watch out for oncoming traffic.

Upper Boon Keng Road to Bishan Park
(Kallang Park Connector)

THE RIDE (ABOUT 15KM) Starting from behind Geylang West Community Club, hop on the Kallang Park Connector and follow the Kallang River northwards in the direction of Bendemeer Road (the river is crossed by a bridge near Block 14 in Upper Boon Keng Road). Cross Serangoon Road, ride past the homes in Moonstone Lane, then cross the busy Pan Island Expressway by the overhead pass close to the cluster of schools known as St Andrew's Village. Continuing along the Kallang Park Connector, you will pass Potong Pasir on your right, cross Braddell Road by the ComfortDelGro office and head north towards Bishan Park, where the route ends.

THE SIGHTS This is an efficient short-cut for residents travelling from Potong Pasir to Bishan, and passes through a number of housing estates along the way. Admire the conserved buildings in St Andrew's School and soothe those tired muscles at the Aramsa spa in Bishan Park.

WATCH OUT There are many roads and bridges to cross, so be prepared to get off your bike and push it along where it is not safe to ride. This path is mostly unshaded so it can get quite hot on a sunny day.

Kim Seng Road to East Coast Park
(promenades by Singapore River and Marina Bay, and Kallang Park Connector)

THE RIDE (ABOUT 15KM) Starting from Kim Seng Park, by Kim Seng Road opposite Great World City, you will ride along the promenade by the Singapore River, past Robertson Quay, Clarke Quay, and the Asian Civilisations Museum on your left. Cycle down Queen Elizabeth Walk, then turn right to follow the Marina Promenade on the bayfront until you hit Crawford Street. Cross Rochor River near Block 4 in Crawford Street to reach the Kallang Park Connector at the Kallang Riverside Park, and head towards Stadium Road on the opposite bank. by crossing via Geylang Road. Go past the Singapore Indoor Stadium and onto Tanjong Rhu bridge, which you ride over into Tanjong Rhu Road. That leads to Fort Road and the East Coast Park.

THE SIGHTS If you haven't had much of a life lately, this will acquaint you with many of Singapore's attractions at one go – the Singapore River, the quaint river bridges, the Asian Civilisations Museum, the Esplanade, and the soon-to-be completed giant ferris wheel, Singapore Flyer.

WATCH OUT The riverfront promenade can get quite crowded with diners and strollers in the evenings. There are also frequent road crossings and a fair number of underpasses where you are expected to dismount and push your bike across.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Traffic Police Video for Pedal Cyclists, Singapore and comments by SATan

This video produced by the Traffic Police about road safety for cyclists was uploadded by LingtheMErciless to YouTube last year.

SATan posted her reaction to the video on her blog a week later and since its no longer updated, I got permission t reproduce it here:

--- beg ---
"Traffic Police safety video for pedal cyclists." By S. A. Tan. .synthesized, 20 Aug 2006.

The road safety video
(Yes, it’s a little old, but still…)

Well, it does have a few good points, but I do have a few issues with the video…..

1) Who the hell wears elbow pads and knee pads?
Ya, wearing a helmet on the road is a good thing (unfortunately, I don't, but I might be persuaded to), but elbow pads and knee pads? That does seem a little excessive.
Motorcyclists wearing elbow pads and knee pads is one thing.... but bicyclists? (Yes, I know some motorcyclists would even find wearing elbow and knee pads excessive).

Wearing a helmet while riding somewhere like a park or cycle track is in my opinion safe but unnecessary.

2) Do I see a white rear light somewhere?
I thought rear lights must be red? Dunno about front lights though, someone said that they must be white, mine used to be white until I bought a trippy multicoloured colour-changing light from my school (from a stall set up by the School of business people) and now the front of my bike looks like a rave party.

3) And stay as close to the left kerb as possible? That is just wrong.
Some things I have encountered in the extreme left of the left lane:

* Big puddles
* Long twigs
* A dead bird (yes, a dead bird, I only saw it when my front wheel was inches from it, and I'm lucky it didn't fly up and slap me in the face)
* Glass.
* Holes and cracks and other assorted stuff.

(Yes, I can't bunnyhop, so what?)

In some situations, it would be better to move out a little, such as

* moving out a little does give you somewhere to escape to in case a driver miscalculates the distance needed to pass you, however, it also pisses off some drivers, so use as you see fit.
* when you need to go straight on a left turn or straight and left turn road, so that you don't end up being sandwiched between a left turning car and the kerb.
* When stopping , so that a car doesn't get tempted to stop beside you, effectively blocking your view from other traffic.

And how are you going to overtake (yes, it happens) or make a right turn anyway?

4) And pay attention to the damn traffic when you're on the road.
Yes, even at a red light or whatever, don't stand around and talk cock with your friend. Watch the damn traffic! You can even pick up clues about what risks you may face when you start moving, eg. the driver talking on his cellphone, the guy on the 2B sportbike with the probation plate and the girlfriend riding pillion (most of them speed and ride recklessly, are preoccupied with showing off to their girlfriends, and haven't been in enough accidents to get scared yet), the motorcyclist which won't stop playing with his throttle (Likely to be impatient, aggressive: in my bike lesson, when I end up beside one, I can be sure of one thing: I'll have to give way to him cause he won't).

5) Riding on the pavement is ok IF
* the route is safe for both you and pedestrians sharing the pavement with you (wide pavement, light human traffic, etc.)
* you have competent bike handling skills (no need to know how to bunnyhop or wheelie or what, just need to be able to balance at extremely slow speeds, negotiate tight turns at low speed, stop consistently)
* good judgement
* discipline (no stunts (yes, even if there is a pretty girl you want to impress) or swerving in and out or riding fast or whatever)

However, crossing the road becomes problematic.
Often, one has to check three opposing and difficult to see directions for cars before crossing. For example, to the right directly behind you, to the right in front of you, and to the left in front of you. This is made worse by the fact that cars usually do not expect bikes to move out onto the road at all, especially not at that speed. Plus, need to check in front of you so you don't fall into any hole or hit any pedestrian, especially cause most pedestrians are even more careless than drivers, move unpredictably and don’t look where they’re going.

Can become quite a handful on a moving vehicle.
(Yes, I don't dismount. Hehe)
If you dismount, you may have to stop at the centre to wait for the traffic on the other lane to clear, with your bike perpendicular to the traffic and your bike's big butt effectively blocking the traffic behind you. Cue horning.
Most of my bad encounters with cars happened while I was riding on the pavement and needed to cross the road.

Depending on where you are, riding on the pavement can indeed be more problematic and dangerous than taking the road directly beside it.

And try not to ride on a crowded pavement, duh.

Actually, it depends on the route, some routes are easier and safer by pavement, some by road. It’s up to your own judgement.

What I find even more disturbing is that the video seems to treat bicyclists only as temporary road users and doesn't educate them about things that are far more important, such as what to look out for, where to check, changing lanes, right-turning, what kind of risks they face, etc.

And most importantly, patience, alertness, anticipation, level-headedness, good judgement, discipline and a respect of the people (and animals) that are sharing wherever you choose to ride with you. And whatever you choose to do, be decisive!!!! (this one I learnt from learning to ride motorcycle, hehe)

Just my two cents. (And I’m not anywhere near the world’s most perfect bicyclist, so use at your own risk).

--- end ---

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Singapore Bike Boulevards?

On the New York "Streetsblog" blog I came across a posting of a video on Berkeley's Bike Boulevards. See the link below. It is well worth a look.

Berkeley's Bike Boulevards (
Running time: 8 minutes 12 seconds

"Bicycle Boulevards really gives the cyclist the sense of owning the
road and being able to take the lane and being able to be in the
middle of the street where they can avoid the door zone. Cars are

expecting that they're going to have to wait for bikes and that
they're going to be seeing bikes. It's not going to be a
confrontational thing if a cyclist is the middle of the road because
it's expected on these streets."

It made me wonder if there are any opportunities for something like this in some places in Singapore.

Relatively few I guess, since Singapore has few places with grid street layouts and few non-arterial options to cycle on. But there might still be a few places that might one day become Singapore Bike Boulevards. We can always dream.