No bicycle registration needed; motorists should keep 1.5m distance when passing cyclists: Panel

The panel added that cyclists are strongly encouraged to take up third-party liability insurance. ST PHOTO: SYAMIL SAPARI

SINGAPORE - A panel tasked with reviewing the rules for on-road cycling has recommended that cyclists limit their group length to a maximum of five bicycles in a single file.

"If the group is considered a slow-moving vehicle on the road, it is about the length of a bus," said the Active Mobility Advisory Panel (AMAP).

This was one of several recommendations the panel made in a report which was submitted to Minister for Transport S. Iswaran on Friday (Oct 1).

The AMAP also said that bicycle registration and licensing of cyclists are not recommended at this point, due to various disadvantages.

It said: "Such measures could also raise barriers to the take-up of cycling in Singapore and disproportionately affect more vulnerable groups of cyclists, including seniors and individuals who rely on bicycles for work and commute."

There was also no evidence from other countries that "such resource-intensive regimes are effective in deterring errant cycling, or enhancing road safety", it said.

The AMAP also recommended that cyclists be allowed to continue riding two abreast on roads with two or more lanes "for their safety and visibility".

In addition, it said a guideline should be introduced in the Highway Code and driving test handbooks for motorists to keep a minimum distance of 1.5m when passing cyclists on roads. This will provide greater clarity on how road users should interact to enhance safety.

The panel said that this guideline is important, given that cyclists are the more vulnerable users on the road. It also noted that many countries already have a minimum passing distance.

The AMAP had previously given recommendations on other issues such as rules around the use of electric scooters, with the recommendations generally taken up by the Government.

It had been tasked by the Government to look into rules for on-road cycling after a debate erupted online in April over whether rules should be tightened.

The panel said its recommendations, if accepted, should be introduced as soon as possible. But there should also be a transition period to focus on raising public awareness before enforcement begins.

On the proposed new rule to limit the group length of cyclists, the panel said that it would facilitate safer interactions among road users while providing flexibility for cyclists to ride in groups. The rule would allow "a maximum group size of five cyclists in a single file or 10 cyclists when riding abreast".

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It said a large group of cyclists is like a slow-moving long vehicle, which would affect traffic flow.

"As the group size increases, it also increases the difficulty to maintain orderly and predictable conduct among group members," said the panel.

"This could pose greater risks to the riders themselves and may create more conflict situations with other road users."

Groups of more than five cyclists must split into two or more clusters, it said.

The panel also called for the introduction of a guideline for cyclists to keep a safe distance of about two lamp posts, or around 30m, between riding groups. This will leave sufficient space for overtaking vehicles.

It added that cyclists are strongly encouraged to take up third-party liability insurance, which aids compensation to victims in accidents. The insurance will protect cyclists from potentially expensive claims.

The rule would allow "a maximum group size of five cyclists in a single file or 10 cyclists when riding abreast". PHOTO: ST FILE

In its final recommendation, the panel urged the Government to step up public education efforts among road users, such as the development of a new on-road safety practical guide for motorists and cyclists.

"While most cyclists are law-abiding, the panel recommends that the Government take firm enforcement action against errant riders to deter errant behaviours, as road safety is a shared responsibility and all users have a role to play," the panel added.

Senior Minister of State for Transport Chee Hong Tat said in a Facebook post on Friday that the Transport Ministry will review the recommendations before giving its response.

He added that there is a need to review the regulations to ensure safety for all, given that more people are now sharing the roads following a rise in the number of cyclists.

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