LTA: Bicycle licensing not practical

A woman riding her bicycle in Bishan Park in 2014.
A woman riding her bicycle in Bishan Park in 2014.PHOTO: ST FILE

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has studied the licensing of bicycles and cyclists very carefully ("Bicycle licensing allows for better rule enforcement" by Mr Jeremy Aw Chon Wai; yesterday, "Bicycle licensing necessary to curb errant riding" by Ms Amy Loh Chee Seen; Feb 3, "Let cycling culture develop naturally" by Mr Lim Choong Pin, and "Bike licensing would be ineffective" by Mr David Knapp; both published last Saturday).

The main benefit of licensing is to aid identification and tracking of errant cyclists.

However, this requires that the registry of licences be regularly updated by licence holders.

There are practical difficulties for ensuring this is so.

Many bicycles are sold and change hands every year. The profile of cyclists is diverse, ranging from very young children to the elderly.

Some people cycle to work, while others cycle occasionally to neighbourhood amenities, or for leisure and exercise.

It will be resource-intensive to implement and police a system to license bicycles or cyclists that is up to date.

More importantly, a licensing system would make owning and using a bicycle too onerous, and would discourage people from cycling.

For these reasons, even countries like the Netherlands, which has a very large population of cyclists, does not practise a licensing regime.

Most cyclists are considerate people. Strengthening public education and building up a culture of graciousness, supported by targeted enforcement of cycling rules, is more practical and sustainable.

LTA is working with schools, the community and cycling interest groups to strengthen public education.

For instance, school-going children are educated from a young age on the dos and don'ts of safe cycling.

LTA is also currently in public consultations to develop a set of rules and code of conduct to inculcate a culture of safe and gracious cycling in Singapore.

Tan Shin Gee (Ms)


Active Mobility and Policy (Fares)

Land Transport Authority

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 12, 2016, with the headline 'LTA: Bicycle licensing not practical'. Print Edition | Subscribe