Forum: Don't forget potential of motorcycles for commuting

I read with interest that a survey commissioned by The Straits Times on youth attitudes towards car ownership found that the majority of respondents do not consider cycling as a viable substitute to driving, for reasons such as not wanting to cycle long distances and the weather being too hot to cycle (5 takeaways: Youth opinions on car ownership in Singapore, June 18).

The overall survey findings are not surprising. The rising cost of car ownership has left many young adults unable to comfortably afford a car, whether or not they actually desire to own one.

At the same time, while interest in cycling has grown, many still view cycling as a leisurely pursuit rather than a viable mode of transport due to long distance commutes and a lack of proper road cycling infrastructure from the suburbs to the city centre.

As a young adult driver, avid cyclist and aspiring motorcyclist who is currently taking riding lessons, I commiserate with drivers and cyclists, but am also curious about why motorcycling as a commuting option in Singapore remains underrated given its efficient road usage and commuting convenience.

Road infrastructure already takes up about 12 per cent of Singapore's land area, and the focus should be on how to more efficiently use these roads.

Car pooling is still not a common practice and many drivers commute to work alone - a highly inefficient use of road space that contributes to congestion.

Motorcycles take up much less space than cars on the roads and in carparks, and would clearly be a more efficient use of existing roads for commuter journeys.

Commuting by motorcycle is also faster, and potentially safer, than commuting by bicycle on the road. A motorcycle can use all roads and expressways and attain the same speed as cars, whereas bicycles are banned on expressways and are often dangerously under-powered on roads.

On the environmental front, new motorcycles sold in Singapore are more environmentally friendly, and electric motorcycle options are increasing with the new wave of electric vehicles.

In tandem with pushing pro-cycling policies such as constructing more dedicated cycling lanes and bicycle parking facilities, I urge the Government to also consider the potential of motorcycling as an efficient substitute for driving, and to formulate policies to encourage motorcycling as a commuting option.

Trent Ng

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