First Car Free day in Singapore

Cheers to the first Car Free Day in Singapore- in LovecyclingSG style!

Cheers to the first Car Free Day in Singapore- in LovecyclingSG style!

Video credit: Joeel Lee, one of our “Angels” from LoveCycingSG

In 2014, Car Free Day in Singapore was a dream, and last Sunday the dream finally comes true!
On October 3rd, 2014, URA team bring along key members of LTA, SLA, SDCF and Mr. Peter Ong, the Head of Civil Service, to study how the KL Car Free Day is organized. Last Sunday, March 28th, 2016, we had the first Car-Free Day in Singapore, and it was a great success!

What is “Car Free Day”? here is a short description from URA:

Car-Free Sunday SG turns part of our city into a pedestrian and cyclist friendly precinct and creates a 4.7 km route of closed roads in the heart of the city. It is part of the larger movement towards a car-lite Singapore, envisioning our city with fewer cars.

The trial will kick off with an exciting lineup of activities on 28 February.  It will continue take place on the last Sunday of the month for a six month trial period.

more on URA site

URA flag-off

Second flag off for “Ride-To-Car-Free” folks by CEO of URA  Photo credit: Joeel Lee

LoveCyclingSG supported the Car Free Day by organising four concurrent events. One of the groups joint the flag off at 7am in front of the National Gallery, which includes families with kids and “pets lovers”, all on bicycles. The other three groups starting three “Ride-to-Car-Free” concurrently at 7am from the East (Kembangan MRT), the North (Bishan Park) and West (Clementi MRT). These three groups were led by our veteran, or “LCSG Angels”. It was a great opportunity for inexperience riders to follow the leads and test out the route from heartlands to CBD. The responses were overwhelming. Both East (led by George and Berenda with ) and West (Led by Andy and Stanley) group had close to 100 pax and the largest group was the North (led by Clarence,  Desmond and Kenneth with PNRs) which was 130+ riders.

All together it was estimated we have a total of 400+ participant from LoveCyclingSG. It was the biggest event we have mobilised so far.

Apart from cycling, there were many interesting programs running at the same time, walking, jogging, running, skating, and even mass Yoga. Kevin from National Gallery helps to arrange valet parking for our bicycle at the basement car park, so that the riders can join other events without worry about their bicycles. Typically very quiet on a Sunday morning, the whole CBD area has been transformed from into a caravel and fun playground for thousands of participants.

Programming of the Car Free Day

 

Video credit: Sport Singapore

Related news LoveCyclingSG for Car Free Day:

Channel News Asia
Channel8
URA news

 

Pedestrian First Cyclist Pledge

pedestrian-first

Cyclists on PCN/Pavement should not be defined by the few inconsiderate cyclists who are reckless, inconsiderate and the cause of some accidents. The majority of the cyclists are ALSO pedestrians and we care deeply about the safety of all users, especially the vulnerable young and elderly.

We want to express our commitment to Pedestrian Safety and gratitude for sharing the PCN/Pavement with cyclist. We are responsible, considerate, caring and safety conscious cyclists who will put the Pedestrian Safety First. We want to show that we can use positive role models, social and peer pressure to encourage the right mind set and behaviour to promote safety for all, without additional government intervention, regulation, bicycle licensing or penalties.

Cyclists, if you are like the majority of us, willing to show our commitment, take the first step to Pledge to be a Pedestrian First Cyclist:

1. I am a Pedestrian First Cyclist, always putting their safety first, especially for the vulnerable children & elderly.

2. am always mindful of potential risk so that I can take early defensive actions, including slowing down, to unexpected situations.

3. I have the patience & skill to ride slowly behind pedestrian at walking speed, and willingness to dismount, if necessary, for safety.

Sign the pledge at

https://www.change.org/p/pledge-to-be-pedestrian-first-cyclist

I believe with more cyclists having the above mindset and attitude, accidents will be reduced and safety on PCN/Pavement will be improved. We will also have a more harmonious sharing of the pathways.

Do help to spread the word and strongly encourage your safety conscious fellow cyclists to do the Pledge. The more cyclists Pledge, the more credible is our commitment to the pedestrians.

Pedestrians, if you like to see more responsible, considerate, caring and safety conscious cyclist who puts pedestrians first, please like the page and share to all your friends and groups. Please encourage your cycling friends to Pledge and commit to it.

a ground up initiation by Tan Wee Yeow

Mega boost for cycling in Singapore

New design of NSE includes dedicated bus lane and cycle lane.

New design of NSE includes dedicated bus lane and cycle lane.

Yesterday Transport minister Khaw Boon Wan release the news about LTA redesigning the planned North South Expressway (NSE) to include dedicated bus lane as well as walking and cycling paths. The originally intention of the NSE was mainly to speed up car traffic, consisting dual direction, 3 lanes expressway connecting Woodlands to CBD. The new design dedicates one of the lane to buses and create a new layer above it for cycling and walking. This is inline with the Singapore long term vision of a car-light society.
If you want less people depends on cars, you need to invest in other options. This is solid commitment to improve the infrastructure for Bus, walking and cycling, along with cars.

New design of Bencoolen Street incorporate bicycle lane and extra wide pavement for pedestrians.

New design of Bencoolen Street incorporate bicycle lane and extra wide pavement for pedestrians.

In tandem of the new NSE design, a part of the CBD will be transformed from 4 lanes road to multi-mode street consists of only dual car lanes. Two of the original car lanes will be converted to wide pavement and dedicated cycle lane. This transformation clearly demonstrate the shift from a car-centric to a people centric urban planning.
Together with the previous announcement of the 700km Cycling paths under the National Cycling Plan and the next generation AMK cycling town, the cycling infrastructure is set to have mega boost.

ST News: North South Expressway to have Express bus lanes, cycling route
Zapbao News: ??????????????????
Car-Lite Together by Transport minister Khaw Boon Wan

Many opportunities for Active mobility on existing roads

I wrote about lane width before. My interest in studying lane width are two folds. First of all, we can create space for protected bicycle lanes if we can narrow down some of the wider lanes. Second, reduce lane-width can lead to safer roads for all road users, including drivers, pedestrians and cyclists.

In 2014 there were 278,545 cases of speeding violation. That’s equivalent to 762 speeding per day! New evidence shows this is largely due to the fact that many of our lanes are too wide and feel “too slow” if one drive within the speed limit (50km/h). It is a well known and well documented fact that speeding increases the risk of the driver and other road users tremendously. The conventional wisdom of “wider lane is safer” should be questioned.

A detail study by Toronto Transport Planner (Dewan Masud Karim) suggested that the optimally safe lane-width is between 3~3.2 meters. He compared the lane dimension, driving speed and crash records between Toronto, and Tokyo. He discovered humans display a surprisingly narrow “safety comfort zone” while trying to achieve a dynamic equilibrium status within the travel lane width:

Both narrow (less than 2.8m) and wide (over 3.1~3.2m) lanes have proven to increase crash risks with equal magnitude. Safety benefits bottom out around 3.1m (for Tokyo) and 3.2m
(for Toronto). Beyond the “safety valley curve”, wider lanes (wider than 3.3m) adversely affect overall side-impact collisions.

If we follow his recommendation to adjust our lane-width to 3~3.1 meters, we will be able to create protected bicycle lanes in many areas. Below are some locations that we can create space for protected bicycle lanes AND makes the roads safer:

– Toa Payoh Lorong 2:
Current status: 2 lanes each direction, total 7.29 meters.
Possible future: 2 lanes each direction, total 6 meters, creates additional 1.29 meter to existing pavement for protected bicycling/walking.

– Geyland East Ave 2:
Current status: 2 lanes 2 directions, total 11.1 meters.
Possible future: 2 lanes 2 direction, total 6.4 meters, creates additional 4.7 meters to existing pavement for protected bicycling/walking. (2.35 meter each direction)

– East Coast Road (north side)
Current status: 2 lanes, total 8.15 meters
Possible future: 2 lanes, total 6.2 meters and creates additional 1.95 meters to existing pavement for protected bicycling/walking. .

– Circuit Road
Current status: 3 lanes, total 12.25 meters
Possible future: 3 lanes, total 9.3 meters and creates additional 2.95 meters to existing pavement for protected bicycling/walking, enough on both sides of circuit road!

– Simei Street 1
Current status: 1 lane, 5.2 meter each direction
Possible future: 1 lane, 3.2 meter each direction, and creates additional 2 meters to existing pavement for protected bicycling/walking.

The list just go on. To find out more opportunities, just check this google map containing the lane width measurement in various parts of Singapore.

Many years ago, in 2003, there was a debate in the parliament between MP Irene Ng and the then Minster of State for Transport, Dr Balaji Sadasivan. I remember one of the point made by Dr. Sadasivan was that “in land scarce Singapore, there is no space for bicycle”. I believe today, with LTA taking up the leadership role of Active Transport, we will be able to see more opportunities for creating safe space for cycling on existing roads space.

Link to the Lane-width study by Toronto Transport Engineer:
CITE_Paper_Conference_2015_Regina_Final.pdf

Human Ride Singapore Chapter (Thai PBS)

Thai PBS TV run a series program relates to bicycle trends called Human Ride.
Here is a collection about Singapore bicycle trends:

Bicycle Culture
LoveCyclingSG, TreeIn Lodge,

Bicycle business
Wheeler’s Yard, Coast Cycle, Bamboo Bee

PCN and rides

Conclusion

Advanced highway code for driver – how to treat cyclists

Thanks to Hannes Hentze who manage to obtain the reproduction right from MightyMinds Publishing Pte Ltd for the section on Cyclists (Pages 142 to 144) of the Advanced Theory Book (4th Edition). You can go ahead to read the code in it’s full glory. I am pleasantly surprised of it’s existent because if all drivers do follows the highways code relates to cycling, there should be a lots less “accident” between cars and cyclists.

New Highway code section about safety for cyclist

New Highway Code about cycling

The full text is here for ease of sharing :

Source: The New Highway Code Book 2, Advanced Theory of Driving, (Published in consultation with Traffic management, Land Transport Authority)

Cyclist ride on all types of roads excepts expressways. Bicycles are used for both transportation and recreation by people of all ages and sizes; you should expect to find them almost anywhere. Because they rode close to traffic, cyclists are vulnerable to injury in a collision. As a driver, it is your special responsibility to pay attention to them and to provide for their safety.

1. When sharing the road with cyclists, expect sudden moves on their part at all times. A patch of oil, a pothole, an opening door of a parked car and other hazards can force a cyclist to swerve suddenly into your path.

2. When approaching or passing a cyclist, give him/her ample space and be extra alert. Be prepared to slow down or stop. When a cyclist glances back, it is an indication that he/she may change direction anytime.

3. Look out for cyclists riding against the flow of traffic especially at residential areas.

4. Give even more room to cyclists when they are carrying a heavy weight or a pillion. This makes them unsteady and wobbly and they may ride into your path or even hit the side of your vehicle.

5. Just before turning:
i: Check your mirrors and blind spots.
ii. Watch out for cyclists between your vehicle and the kerb.
iii. Don’t make a sudden sharp turn, you may knock down a cyclist.

6. When overtaking, keep a safe gap between your vehicle and the cyclist. Don’t cut in sharply after overtaking the cyclist. This could result in your vehicle “side brushing” or hitting the cyclist.

7. After parking, look out for cyclists coming up from behind before opening your vehicle door.

Errant cyclist on the rise ?

CNA-news

The number of traffic offences committed by bicycle users went up by 17.5% from 2012 to 2013. Some said that it is due to the increase number of cyclists. Some said it is due to the attitude of bicycle users. Yet some said it is due to the lack of proper infrastructure for bicycle users. The truth probably is a mixture of all the above factors. On further enquiry, the types of violation committed by errant cyclists are typically the following:

1) Riding on pavement
2) Running red light
3) Endangering pedestrians

There were 1455 traffic violation committed by cyclists in 2013. No one was killed due to these offences.

In comparison, motorist committed 252 times more traffic violation in 2013, including the followings:

1) Speeding 260,512 (in 2013)
2) Running red light
3) Careless driving

All together there were 367,496 traffic violation committed by motorists in 2013. 159 persons were killed which included 43 pedestrians.

These information is available from the Traffic Police site:   [Publications] > [Annual Traffic Statistics]

As quote from the TP site, for these violations committed by motorists:

“every traffic violation can potentially result in a fatal or injury accident and the loss of lives.”

When I’m looking through this striking comparison, it occurs to me that there are 250 times more offences committed by motoring and each of these offences has at least 10x higher potential to kill or to cause serious injuries. Shouldn’t we put 2500 times more attention and effort to reduce the bigger, more dangerous offences?

url:
Traffic Police statistics: http://driving-in-singapore.spf.gov.sg
Channel News Asia report: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/errant-cyclists-on-the/1565814.html

Bike lanes in Singapore, Ya or Nay?

STA survey about Bike Lanes

STA survey about Bike Lanes

I was surprised to see my Photoshopped photo appear on the Facebook page of STA. I’m even more delighted to learn that they are conducting a survey to get public views about bicycle lanes on Singapore roads.
Here is the question they posted:

Bicycle lanes in Singapore, Ya or Nay? Motorist seems to have a very negative view on cyclists on the road why is that so? Share your view with us?

3 lucky comments will be selected to win a mystery prize each. Entries close on Friday, 13/2/2015, 12 pm.

However, the most enlightening part are the views expressed by many people, and supported by the most “Likes” for example:

Woon Taiwoon: Cycling can help reduce traffic jam. If you look around you when u drive, how many cars are vacant with only drivers. Imagine when 10 percent of the car drivers convert to cycling. Thats alot of cars OUT OFF the roads.

Now I know cycling as a form of commuting might sound crazy but it is really possible. If there are bike lanes, I am very sure many will chose this eco friendly and happier alternative.

Joanna Peck: personally, I think an excellent first step would be to show on the bus lanes that bicycles are allowed there. This would take minimal effort on the part of authorities to implement.

for the future, I’d love to see a cycling lane network established in Singapore. Where people can cycle from place to place with ease instead of navigating a hodgepodge mixture of road, PCN and pavements.

Brenda Woo: Yes, we need a bicycle lane in Singapore! Whether it’s on the road or side of the road as long as it makes every road users safe while commuting. Motorists may have a negative view of cyclists on road largely because there isn’t a dedicated lane for bicycles and sometimes for the cyclists’ own safety they have to take a whole lane, esp. at turning junctions… If everyone shares the road and everyone knows what to expect, there can be mutual respect amongst all commuters.

Petia Garmadon: More bicycles less cars no jams.

Francis Chu: This particular photo is showing that under current traffic rules, bicycle is allowed on Bus Lanes: http://www.lta.gov.sg/…/road…/road-regulations.html
I think putting a bicycle sign on Bus Lane is a very good start for the following reasons:
1) Some motorists saw cyclists on bus lane and is upset that the cyclist is “breaking the law again” but in fact that’s not true.
2) Some cyclists though they are not supposed to ride on bus lane and decided to ride on the second lane, which is more dangerous and slows down the cars there.
3) Bus drivers todays are properly trained on how to share the road with cyclists.
Putting down a bicycle sign on Bus lane does not affect current rules and is an effective start to make cycling more visible as a mode of transport.

There naturally some are not too sure about having bike lanes on Singapore roads:

Keith Dot Lee: I am not cycling on the road because our road width did not cater for bicycle. Hence a danger to cycle on road. Further, the law is not in favor of the cyclist. So the ball is with LTA. Cater for it first.

But Keith is quickly convinced by the following responses:

Dennis LH Cheong: Actually, after having some cycling in some other cities (with longer history), you should find that our (non ancient) roads have relatively wide left lane catered for buses. This features, which I didn’t know until recently, actually allowed me to have been bicycle commuting since 1996.
Francis Chu: We actually measured ~ 100 road width and we found more than 70% of the roads are wide enough to cater for a 1.2-1.6 meter bike lane.
Keith Dot Lee: Oh I see. Thks for sharing.

And fianlly there are a few nay sayer:

Matthew Lim: nay!!! have you seen the traffic in the bus lanes. its likely to be a road hazard. cars, cyclists and busses are not meant to share the same lane.

To find out what the responses Matthew received? check the STA page here:
https://www.facebook.com/STA.inspection/photos/pb.414822601971575.-2207520000.1423650878./724602577660241/

Should cyclists follow all the traffic rules?

Should cyclists follow all the traffic rules?

The answer seems to be obvious, however, the German Chancellor Merkel gave an unexpected, yet inspiring answer:

“Cyclists do have their own interpretation of traffic rules. But we are not pushing hard for obeying the rules, but for better and more bike paths and as far as helmets go for cyclist, we focus on the voluntary usage and not bringing in laws for that.”

Bicycle as a mode of transport is not new, it exist way before the creation of “traffic rules”. Traffic rules were created after the introduction of motor cars, which imposed unprecedented risks to other road users. You may consider “traffic rules” are essentially “motorist’s rules” and must be obeyed by all motorists for the safety of other road users. However, it is not realistic, nor fair to require a human power mode of transport to follow 100% of the “motorist’s rules” even if it means it will sometimes put the cyclist in risk.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel checking a road bike

I’m not advocating cyclists to break the traffic rules. The fundamental principle should be safety. Do what is safe. Follow the traffic rules as much as possible. But, do not follow the rules blindly and put yourself in a dangerous position. Some of these “rules” are in fact perceived and not official. Here a few typical, but exceptional examples that bicycle users may “break the rules” for safety concern:

1) Riding on footpath – if the road is full of fast moving cars, it is potentially deadly for slow riders such as the uncles and aunties going to markets. In this case, I would be using the footpath instead. Anyone insist that cyclists must always be on the road I will challenge them to ride slowly along Lornie Road.

2) Not staying at the extreme left of the left most lane, but shifting to the centre of the lane – Before riding across a road junction, or approaching a slip road, it is often safer for the cyclist to shift his/her position from left of the lane towards the centre of the lane. This is for two purpose: a) signal to the driver behind that you want to go straight, not turning left. 2) prevent driver from last moment overtaking and cutting in front to turn left.

3) Move from left most lane to second or third lanes – before some junction with one or more left turning lanes, you need to position yourself out of the left turning lanes if you need to go straight.

4) Riding on the bus lane – it is actually legal to riding on Bus lane, but many drivers and cyclists are not aware of this and become confused. It should be possible to put a bicycle sign on Bus lane, and it will be more clear for every body that bicycle are supposed to be on the Bus Lanes.

5) Riding across zebra crossing or pedestrian crossing – again, there is no explicit law states that it is not allowed to cycle across a pedestrian crossing. But you need to do so in a safe manner, for your own safety and other pedestrian’s safety. Never rush across a crossing regardless you are cycling or running.

6) Not wearing helmet –  there is no law in Singapore states that one must wear a helmet in order to ride a bicycle. It is a personal choice.

It is particularly interesting that, such “un-ruling” comment is coming from a German Chancellor, since Germany is well know to be a rule based society. Angela Merkel clearly understand that it is not useful to force the traffic rules, which are primarily created to control motorists for the safety of others, onto the group of cyclists, which does not imposed the same level of risk to other users. Instead she put focus to improve the infrastructure such as bike paths so that everyone will be more safe regardless of the rules.

What is your view? Please put your comment below.

Source: http://www.bike-eu.com/Shows-Events/Show-reviews/2013/8/Angela-Merkel-Steals-the-Show-at-Eurobike-Opening-1347196W/

Singapore bicycle routes (Google map)

(2017-07-01) Updated link of new map:
https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?mid=1d-f3wTmqM3jmT7C1LtTzorsRbGw&ll=1.3438646483491936%2C103.74715402722359&z=15

Quickly post this excellent work of Jonathan Hiew, who tirelessly pieces together the different cycling routes in Singapore, includes Park Connector, LTA and town council cycling routes, on road routes and unobvious routes submitted by cyclists, with notes too!

https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/view?mid=zYN7CFn96k94.k5NpSMlBEPvI