Address safety and make bike parking secure for cycling to take off, says cyclists

Bicycles parked outside Paya Lebar MRT station, near the SingPost building, have been the target of thieves. -- ST PHOTO FILE
Bicycles parked outside Paya Lebar MRT station, near the SingPost building, have been the target of thieves. -- ST PHOTO FILE

SINGAPORE - For cycling to become a viable mode of transport it must be made safer and secure bicycle parking has to be more readily available, cyclists said.

Their comments come days after National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan wrote in his blog that the government wants to encourage intra-town commuting by bike as a way of life.

While many cyclists were cheered by Mr Khaw's call for more Singaporeans to take to two-wheel transport - he said cycling makes up just 1 to 2 per cent of travel modes here at the moment - they said safety was still the main reason that kept people off their bikes.

Mr Francis Chu, co-founder of cycling group Love Cycling SG, which has more than 9,000 members, said while he welcomed the government's plan to build a 700km cycling network by 2030, it should perhaps redesign traffic junctions here to make it safer for cyclists.

"Most accidents happen at traffic intersections," said the 54-year-old, who bikes to work daily. "It's sometimes unreasonable to demand drivers at intersections to pay attention to so many points at the same time. They are humans too, not robots."

He highlighted how pedestrian crossings in the Netherlands were placed further down the road from intersections, so drivers turning across a junction would have space and time to stop if they spotted a cyclist crossing the road at the last minute.

Safe Cycling Taskforce president Steven Lim said the present CCTV-monitored bike parking at MRT stations was not also secure enough.

"This can be improved with better technology. There could be a secure place that you can tap into only with your ez-link card so nobody else can go in and ride your bike away."

Indeed, national serviceman Ken Ong, 21, has had his bike stolen twice near the station in Sengkang.

"Both (stolen) bikes cost $400, but after I bought a cheap $100 bike it has been okay," said Mr Ong. who rides to the Compass Point mall near his home regularly.

When The Straits Times was at Sengkang on Thursday, bikes were locked haphazardly along railings and fences because there were insufficient bike lots.

"I love cycling because it's so convenient for short trips, but if bike parking should be secure that would be great."

dansonc@sph.com.sg