Parliament: Bicycles and mobility devices to be allowed on footpaths possibly by end 2016

A cyclist rides a bike in Tampines. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - It could be legal to ride your bicycle or electric scooter on the pavements as early as the end of this year, after the Government fully accepted an expert panel's recommendations to boost active mobility here.

Speaking in Parliament on Tuesday (April 12) during the Transport Ministry's Budget debate, Senior Minister of State for Transport Josephine Teo said this was part of efforts to enhance accessibility for commuters. In the bigger picture, it is also a key strategy in Singapore's push to reduce its reliance on cars.

The Active Mobility Advisory Panel released last month a set of rules and guidelines to govern the use of personal mobility devices here.

Besides recommending that bicycles and other personal mobility devices be allowed on the pavements, it also recommended that power assisted bicycles be registered to clamp down on the illegal modification of these devices, and for enforcement and education efforts to be beefed up to foster a culture of sharing among all users of footpaths.

Mrs Teo said the Government would be accepting the panel's recommendations "in full", and most of the changes would be implemented by the end of this year.

"Overall, the recommendations are fair and balanced, with sensible rules and guidelines to ensure the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and users of PMDs alike," she said, pointing out that the new rules will significantly improve mobility options for everyone.

Mrs Teo told the House that a nationwide Active Mobility campaign will be launched this month to raise awareness on the new policies.

This would be complemented with a new Cyclist Education programme, which will be rolled out in schools, community centres and foreign worker dormitories from next month.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) will also set up a dedicated enforcement team to ensure reckless cyclists and users of PMDs are dealt with, she said. Penalties and fines will also be increased.

The safety of pedestrians was a concern raised by several MPs, including MP Cheng Li Hui (Tampines GRC ).

MP Lim Biow Chuan (Mountbatten) also asked if short-term bike rental programmes could be rolled out in private estates to facilitate connectivity to MRT stations.

Mrs Teo said one would be piloted in the Jurong Lake District next year, and the Government would study how it could be expanded to other residential areas.

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