SINGAPORE - Concerns over cyclists risking their lives on expressways are growing, given the number of those caught flouting the rule.
According to statistics from the Land Transport Authority (LTA), 44 cyclists were caught on expressways in the first four months of this year. This is close to the 50 cyclists caught on expressways during the whole of last year.
The figures include cyclists riding conventional pedal bicycles and power-assisted bicycles (PABs).
While cyclists are allowed on roads, it is illegal for them to ride on expressways and in road tunnels.
LTA said that while it is encouraging to see more people taking up cycling for daily commuting and exercise, there are some who may break the rules because of their unfamiliarity with the road network, or because they are not fully aware of current regulations.
It said: "There is also a minority who, out of convenience, knowingly break regulations by riding on expressways."
Those who do so can be fined up to $2,000 or jailed for up to six months.
Road traffic accidents on expressways involving cyclists are also a matter of concern.
A police spokesman said there were one fatality and one injury involving cyclists on PABs, and two injuries involving cyclists on pedal bicycles last year.
In 2019, there were no fatalities and three injuries involving cyclists on pedal bicycles. There were no fatalities or injuries involving cyclists on PABs in 2019. The police did not provide figures for this year.
The LTA told The Sunday Times that as at the end of last month, there were 31,660 registered PABs here. This is more than double the 15,700 registered PABs as at March 31 last year.
Road traffic accidents involving personal mobility devices (PMDs) fell greatly. There were zero fatalities and 50 injuries last year, compared with two fatalities and 198 injuries in 2019.
The police attributed the decrease in PMD traffic accidents to continued public education on safe riding habits and changes to the Active Mobility Act restricting all motorised PMDs to cycling paths and banning the use of PMDs that do not comply with the UL2272 fire safety standard on public paths.
Observers said the pandemic has fuelled a spike in the number of cyclists on the roads here.
Bikemart SG's sales manager, Mr Jason Elijah, 38, said his shop sold more bicycles during the pandemic - three a day, up from one a day previously. "We usually tell our customers to stay off the road if they are not experienced and practise on the park connectors," he said.
Singapore Cycling Federation vice-president for safety and education Steven Lim said many sports facilities were ordered to close or faced restrictions amid the pandemic, so cycling and running became good options for many.
Mr Bernard Tay, chairman of the Singapore Road Safety Council, said that the greater number of cyclists on the roads could be due to more food delivery workers using bicycles as a mode of transport.
Mr Lim and Mr Tay urged cyclists to always abide by traffic rules and to not ride on expressways.
Mr Tay said: "All cyclists should play their part by keeping themselves and other motorists safe and refrain from cycling on the expressways, which are meant for other motorists who are travelling at higher speeds."