Bicycle licensing necessary to curb errant riding

Last Saturday's report ("Speed limits for cyclists") quoted Senior Minister of State for Transport Josephine Teo as having dismissed a suggestion for bicycles to be licensed, saying that it would not be effective and was not required in most countries.

The 50km of bicycle paths within towns have not reduced cycling errancy on the rest of the island.

The same arguments have been used again and again by MPs against bicycle licensing without any challenges in Parliament, despite the environment having changed drastically in the past five years.

On what basis do ministers state that such licensing will be ineffective? What research in Singapore has been done? So what if it is not required in most countries?

Our situation is unique. A large proportion of our population uses bicycles as a means of transportation.

Outside of satellite towns, we have hardly any cycling paths - most of the ones we do have, such as park connectors, are meant for leisure cycling. Cyclists ride freely along pedestrian paths and across regulated pedestrian crossings, and break traffic regulations - going against traffic flow, for example - without fear of getting caught.

We have a problem enforcing our traffic regulations. The occasional enforcement "blitzes" are labour-intensive events that cannot be held regularly.

The fear of being caught can be a deterrent for law-breaking cyclists.

Just as car registration identifies errant drivers, bicycle licensing, implemented in our usual smart Singaporean way, is the only way to identify errant cyclists, apart from positioning a traffic policeman at every road corner.

Efficiently identifying law-breaking cyclists and fining them will improve safety for all road users and pedestrians.

Amy Loh Chee Seen (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 03, 2016, with the headline 'Bicycle licensing necessary to curb errant riding'. Print Edition | Subscribe