How to ride safely and what law can do to encourage it?

For sharing of the footpath/pavement in Singapore, there are 2 difference school of thoughts:

1) All people should be given the same right regardless of which device they use, bicycle, PMD or just walk. It is fair and the pathway should be shared equally.

2) People who are more vulnerable/slower should be given priority.

In case (1) Both walker and rider (bicycle and PMD) are given the same right. The rider feels slower walkers are constantly blocking their way. Rider is frustrated because they feel entitled to go at the speed limit (10kph on the footpath, 25kph on the PCN) but most case can’t due to the slower walkers.
Slower walker doesn’t feel safe because they are supposed to look out for riders coming from their back. It is not possible to keep an eye at your back all the time, just in case another rider approach again.

The result: both groups feel frustrated, the slower group feel endangered, and that is the current situation since 2016 AMAP allowing bicycle and PMD on pavements. 

In case (2) Rider must slow down when approaching walker. A rider can only overtake when it is safe and not disturbing walkers. 
The rider feels it is a privilege to use the walking path which was originally only for walkers. No harm to give way to walkers.
The walker doesn’t need to worry about riders, just walk as there are no riders intruding their path. 
If Rider feels unfair, he can step-down and “upgrade” himself to become a walker. Then he has the equal right just as a fellow walker.

The result: harmonious sharing of pathways between the faster group and the slower group because the slower group is given priority and protection of the law.

Thanks to PMD rider Tend Wong, here is an excellent video demonstrating how case (2) would look like, it captured a lot of examples on how to ride in a responsible manner and give the pedestrians priority.

– How to approach pedestrians?
– How to slow down when approaching bus-stop (a lot of blind spots)?
– How to engage pedestrians if the path is narrow?
– How to slow down when there are walkers blocking the way?
– When can you speed up safely?

Clearly, the new law fixing a 10km/h speed limit is not the best solution.
Riding on share path with pedestrians is a dynamic skill, you can go faster when there is clearly no one around, but you need to slow down to walking speed or even stop, in order to ensure safety of others.

Riding responsibly requires a “pedestrian first” attitude. Respecting pedestrian’s safety and right of way, always.

The AMAP law should define “pedestrian priority on the pavement”, and the dangerous riders violated this rule will have to be fined or even jailed.

Such a “pedestrian first” law will protect vulnerable pedestrians. It doesn’t affect the majority of safe riders, yet it will increase the opportunity cost for those “black sheep” riders.

Read more: Does AMAP need to review it process?

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