Voices of Youth: Obstacles to cycling being seen as a true alternative to cars

I am glad that in recent years, Singapore has adopted a car-lite policy, which includes many initiatives to promote cycling (More carpark space in CBD to make way for bicycle parking, July 11).

Right now, I see three problems with the bicycle paths being rolled out in Singapore.

First, while the Government is currently trying to increase the total distance of bicycle paths, the space provided for cyclists on these paths is often too narrow to allow for bi-directional cycling.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority's walking and cycling design guide recommends a cycling path that is 2m wide in the central area. This does not give cyclists the room needed to pass cyclists coming from the opposite direction; they often have to cross into pedestrian paths, leading to potential conflicts between pedestrians and cyclists.

Second, cyclists often have to stop at traffic lights and crossings. Not only do these frequent stops increase the duration of a cycling trip, but they also tire out cyclists who may then be reluctant to cycle after a day of work. I suggest the Government take this into consideration for future cycling routes that intersect less with roads.

Finally, the cycling speed limit on pavements is 10kmh. While this speed is safe for pedestrians and cyclists, it is also too slow to be a practical alternative to cars.

Furthermore, the difference between the cycling speed limit on pavements (10kmh) and on cycling paths (25kmh) can confuse cyclists who, unlike drivers, do not all have a speedometer.

I hope the Government will draw inspiration from countries like the Netherlands, which has infrastructure that is known to be pro-cycling.

Paul Ng Zhi Tao, 18

JC2 student

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.