Motorcycles can play role in push to be car-lite

Just like how sand fills up the spaces between the stones and pebbles in a jar, increasing the number of motorcycles on our roads will not impact the transport system severely.

The road infrastructure in Singapore is ideal for motorcyclists, compared with many Asian cities.

However, it is strange to see that in a developed nation like ours, the authorities still allow riders to ride in shorts, slippers and uncertified helmets.

I suggest the authorities look more into areas concerning safety than ways to restrict motorcycle use.

The current disproportionately low quota for motorcycle certificates of entitlement (COEs) and their high prices encourage owners to hold on to their motorcycles, which are getting older, possibly adding to greater pollution.

Many low-income earners are also paying hefty interest rates to motorcycle dealers for second-hand motorcycles, further compounding their hardship.

In land-scarce Singapore, deliveries using motorcycles should be encouraged. They are more efficient, less pollutive and reduce business costs.

The current COE practice, where a percentage of deregistrations from each vehicle category has to be funnelled to the open category, hits motorcyclists harder, as it is highly unlikely that open category COEs will be used for motorcycle registrations.

Finally, Singaporeans are significantly disadvantaged when motorcycles from across the Causeway can use our limited road space freely, with low cost of ownership and maintenance, almost-zero entry cost (if they enter at specific times) and low fuel cost (if they refuel in Malaysia).

A paradigm shift in thinking is necessary by the authorities and I urge them to take a macro view of the situation, rather than see it from the perspective of car drivers.

Have studies been conducted on how an increase in motorcycle numbers affects our road use?

Can the car-lite initiative be better achieved by encouraging more two-wheelers on our roads?

Kunjan Vasudevan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 07, 2016, with the headline 'Motorcycles can play role in push to be car-lite'. Print Edition | Subscribe