Sharing footpaths

Without proper infrastructure, we may be inviting trouble

I completely understand the need to make a "quantum leap" in improving first- and last-mile connectivity for commuters.

But we are still far from the mindset of cyclists in cities such as Amsterdam and Copenhagen ("Bicycles, e-scooters may be allowed on footpaths by year end"; yesterday).

I wonder if the people who advocate the sharing of footpaths among various users have had the experience of walking on footpaths amid cyclists on a daily basis.

It is a sometimes harrowing, and, most times, frustrating experience.

I have seen many cyclists speeding and cycling within bus bays and through bus stops.

Our footpaths are generally not very wide, and until the Government either widens footpaths or creates cycling lanes, we are asking for trouble.

Even with the current law that bans cyclists from riding on footpaths, many still do.

But opening the floodgates before we are ready, in terms of infrastructure, is not a responsible thing to do.

It would not be possible to police all footpaths. How are the authorities going to handle every complaint or incident?

In Amsterdam, there is a clear path for cyclists and pedestrians, which allows both parties to accommodate each other. Singapore has only pockets of such areas, for example, in Tampines.

Cycling is a great form of exercise and is great for the environment. But without the infrastructure in place, we may be inviting trouble.

Thomas Richard Prakasam

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 14, 2016, with the headline 'Without proper infrastructure, we may be inviting trouble'. Print Edition | Subscribe