Tampines HDB estate's new 11.3km cycling network good to go

Safe cycling course will also be launched in schools in the estate

Cycling in Tampines has never been easier.

Singapore's model cycling town officially became the first HDB estate to have a completed cycling path network under the National Cycling Plan yesterday, giving pedallers easy access to amenities like the MRT station and town centre.

The path, which runs across Tampines Avenues 2, 3, 5, 7 and 9 as well as smaller streets and park connectors, now measures a total of 11.3km.

Tampines was picked because it has a strong cycling culture, said Parliamentary Secretary of Transport Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim.

"Residents now have the option of cycling instead of taking the feeder bus to the town centre," he added.

Although Tampines is the first town in which cyclists and pedestrians are legally allowed to share a foot path, the routes have been designed to keep both parties from clashing. LED lighting has also been installed to reduce the possibility of accidents at night.

Grassroots adviser and MP for Tampines GRC Irene Ng noted that a strong cycling culture benefits non-cyclists too.

"(More cyclists) reduce the number of cars on the road, which means less traffic and cleaner air for all. Bus congestion is also reduced and this means shorter waiting times," she said.

But not all who cycle do so safely, Ms Ng added.

Safe habits, she noted, have a better chance of sticking if they are taught at a younger age.

That is why Tampines will launch a safe cycling course in all its 22 primary and secondary schools, and junior colleges in August.

The hands-on course, taught by the Safe Cycling Task Force, will make sure those who cycle to schools are equipped with the skills and also knowledge of traffic laws.

For example, students would need to demonstrate their ability to perform hand signals while riding, as well as ride through a tailored course.

Besides Tampines, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) is also creating similar paths for 15 other HDB towns by 2020.

Next up is Sembawang by the third quarter of this year, while cycling networks in Changi-Simei, East Coast, Jurong Lake District, Pasir Ris, Punggol Eco-Town, Taman Jurong and Yishun are set to be ready by 2015.

The first phase of Marina Bay's 2.5km-long cycling paths will also be completed by the year end.

At yesterday's launch, where more than 50 riders tried out the new route, the LTA also introduced a safe cycling guidebook to promote safety education among riders.

On the roads, the agency has updated the design of "Cyclists Ahead" signs. They will now be a brighter yellow and red, instead of the usual black and white.

darylc@sph.com.sg