Singapore aiming to make cycling "viable transport option": Khaw Boon Wan

A woman cycling past the bike racks outside Seng Kang MRT station on August 21, 2014. -- PHOTO: ST FILE
A woman cycling past the bike racks outside Seng Kang MRT station on August 21, 2014. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Singapore is aiming to make cycling not just recreational, but a "viable transport option" for short trips, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan wrote on his blog on Wednesday.

"We must now go beyond cycling for recreation. We want it to be a viable transport option for short trips to the supermarket, coffee shop, hawker centre or the nearest MRT station. To do so, we must make such trips safe and pleasant," he wrote.

But Mr Khaw noted that Singapore is lagging "way behind" cities such as Amsterdam and Copenhagen, where cycling is part of the "normal way of life".

Together with walking, it makes up more than half of the modes of transport there, he said. In contrast, cycling makes up just 1 to 2 per cent of transport modes here.

The nation's National Cycling Plan envisions a 700km cycling network by 2030, within as well as between neighbourhoods.

By next year, 100km of cycling paths will be built in Yishun, Punggol and Bedok. Eventually, said Mr Khaw, all 26 HDB towns will have cycling paths connecting homes to neighbourhood centres and MRT stations.

Singapore is also exploring bike sharing schemes and increasing safe cycling education programmes such as the Safe Cycling Programme for Youth for secondary school students.

"Active mobility" - where people walk and cycle - is being embraced by Singapore, added Mr Khaw, for example through the Park Connector Network.

He said: "Cities are increasingly finding it important to make themselves friendly to pedestrians and cyclists. Cities should be safe and convenient for walking and cycling."