Rules on footways, cycling paths soon

A set of rules and norms will soon be in place to help cyclists, pedestrians and users of personal mobility devices share the paths peacefully.
A set of rules and norms will soon be in place to help cyclists, pedestrians and users of personal mobility devices share the paths peacefully. ST PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN

They will help cyclists, pedestrians and mobility device users share the paths safely

They travel at different speeds on footways and cycling paths and sometimes clash. But a set of rules and norms will soon be in place to help cyclists, pedestrians and users of personal mobility devices (PMDs) share the paths peacefully.

These will be developed by the second quarter of next year by an advisory panel set up yesterday by the Land Transport Authority.

The 14-member panel is headed by Parliamentary Secretary for Transport Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim and includes transport experts, grassroots leaders, cyclists and users of PMDs, which include electric scooters and bicycles, as well as motorised wheelchairs.

Dr Faishal, who announced the launch of the panel yesterday at the Road Safety Community Park, said it would study the type of devices that should be allowed, the speeds they travel at, and where they can be used, among other things.

An enforcement framework to nab riders who flout the rules is also on the cards, he said, adding that enforcement would be balanced by education and outreach efforts.

Currently, most motorised personal mobility devices are banned on footpaths, roads and park connectors and in parks. Motorised wheelchairs are the exception. Meanwhile, it is unclear what the rules are for non-electric mobility devices such as kick scooters, but bicycles are allowed only on roads and park connectors.

To formulate its recommendations, the panel will take in views from a six-month-long public consultation launched yesterday.

This would include a public online survey - accessible at www.activemobilitysurvey.com - and focus-group discussions.

The plan for public consultation was announced during the Transport Ministry's Budget debate in Parliament this year.

Dr Faishal said then that with the burgeoning popularity of these mobility devices, a sensible policy on their use was needed.

"These devices were not around in the 1950s and 1960s... As travel patterns change, our infrastructure, rules and norms will need to evolve as well," he said.

Ms Florence Cheong, president of the Singapore Association of Occupational Therapists, hopes these rules would be inclusive, and wider paths would be built to make them more accessible for motorised wheelchairs.

"People with disabilities sometimes are not sure if they can even travel from their house to the shops and markets," said Ms Cheong, who is on the panel.

Mr Denis Koh, who heads Big Wheel Scooters Singapore, a group of electric scooter users, wants to push for the Government to approve them for use on footways and cycling paths.

At present, users can use them only on private property.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 31, 2015, with the headline 'Rules on footways, cycling paths soon'. Print Edition | Subscribe