Author Archives: admin

Greg and his folding bike

Published with the permission from Greg Choong

First TGIF in 2019..! So much drama in the community leading into the new year, I’m sure some good will come out of it.

After adopting cycling first for so many years into my career, I found that it wasn’t impossible. I drove less and now I have no name on any valid COE, and when I started off, there was no Uber, no Grab, just taxis when you needed most and they weren’t around for you, so to stop driving was a pain.

The only decent exercise I had during my jet setting years was the hotel gym, never liked it coz i felt like a mice running on some silly stationary thingy. Then I started to fly with my bike and traded gym with fantastic city cycling, never looked back.

Those were easy but what I was fearing if I could push it further by cycling into meeting rooms, in some foreign countries where cycling wasn’t perceived for people with suit, I pondered. I shouldn’t, I remember when I first rode into one, I made friends with the receptionists, never knew they were more interesting people than me. Love it when they first asked me for their parcels whahahaha. And the people in the meeting room started to doze off less as they were pretty amused by my folded bike sitting beside the projector screen. I had their attention for sure, including my presentations whahahaha. And it was more fun during breaks when they had more questions about my bike than my products, and still bought my products in the end  ūüėČ

Over time when most of my biz partners understand why I ride, funny thing they also started riding themselves, to the point that when they visited me in SG, they demanded I bring them cycling. Of coz I brought them to our hawker centres too, we ditched the China Clubs, they never complained as they were distracted by our beautiful side of the city they never knew, from some who visit SG so frequently for so many years, I was laughing.

I’m glad Uber/Grab came into the scene and there are more options not to own or drive which made these riding even more plausible. You should try some day, it’s possible, even in sunny SG, my meetings have moved to outdoor and into PCNs or Starbucks that allow me to park my bikes comfortable, my fav one is located near MBS. You don’t miss air-con much, even in colder countries, you don’t miss heating too coz I hardly feel cold when I’m on the move.

So don’t perceive cycling are for leisures, or NTUC grocery ride, they can of coz, they are equally good to be included as part of your corporate/working lifestyle.

????, give it a try. Ride safe and ride far my friends! Happy New Year!

No space for bike lane? Really?

Article by Francis Chu, Director of ISUDA BIKE SHARE and Co-founder of LovecyclingSG

I’m not trying to do the job of road engineer, but cycling on Singapore roads allows me to see opportunities which are not so obvious through the windscreen or from the pavement. I am genuinely curious if there is indeed no space left to make way for safer cycling in our neighborhood.

left, original. Right shifted double yellow lines, rest unchanged

The picture is taken from Geylang East Avenue 2, a small street near my neighbourhood, surrounded by housing estates. Although nearby there are industrial blocks but there are hardly any “heavy industry” there. Most of the vehicle parked there are private cars or small vans. This is quite typical in many area in Singapore. Old industrial space being phased out to make rooms for the increasing housing demands. The need for wide roads for big lorries is also replaced by the need of the residents, most walk, cycle or drive in the area.

The road in the picture is 5.1 meters wide, 4.5 meters for the car lane and 60cm for the double yellow lines. From what I’ve observed in many other area, in residential area, 2.8 meter is sufficient for cars. Drivers tends to speed when the lane is too wide. So wide lanes makes the road more dangerous for non-motorist users. As a cyclist, I see potential to redraw the double yellow line to allow some space for the cyclist, at the same time it will help to moderate the car speed. After all, there are kids and elderlies, mothers with baby prams or shopping trolley. Cyclists, be it old or young, need to share the same stretch of road too. Car should never be driving fast in such area, may be a speed limit of 30km/h is appropriate. At slower speed, driving within a narrower lane is not an issue at all.

The picture on the left is the current situation, a wide lane, fast car and the cyclist has no space but have to ride just on the double yellow lane. As you can see, more than half of the yellow line space is blocked by drainage grills which can be slippery or even trap the bicycle wheels. On the right is the exact same road, nothing change but the double yellow lines shifted 60 cm further away from the curb. As a designer, I know the design of environment shape behaviour. The cyclist is now within a space that drivers normally won’t go in. So he is more relax and more confident to ride in a stable way. A frighten cyclist is unpredictable and which is more stressful for the driver too (if the drive has a heart not to hurt anyone). The sense of a narrower lane suggest to the drivers: “Drive carefully!” making it safer for all; motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians.

So when people say there is no space on Singapore roads for bike lane, I will ask, have you go down and check?
I did, in fact three of us did: Teh Ching, AhSun and I. We took a measurement tape and visited different places to measure the roads. We found a lot more opportunities in different parts of Singapore. We plot them on a google map and you can take a look too:

Tips: all the non-artery roads with lanes more than 2.8 meter have potential to be narrow down to moderate car speed and to provide some extra space for cyclist.

More: lane width project

Media update: The New Paper: 2012-08-28

There are roads wide enough for cycle lanes

Media update: Straits Times: 2012-01-23

Straits Times 2012-01-23, Cyclist start drive to get more road space

Safe cycling – a three legs stool

By Francis Chu (last edited: 2012-08-30, first published 2012-08-20)

I believe there is no single, easy solution to the danger faced everyday by cyclists (and other road users) on the road. In 2005, during the formation of SafeCyclingTaskForce we identified three area of focus; Road Infrastructure, Education and legislation. I still believe this 3-pronged approach is a effective and timeless framework.

1) Road infrastructure:

Road must be designed to prevent dangerous driving, cycling or walking. It should make it easy to for cars to give ways to cyclists, or for pedestrians to cross the roads safely and conveniently.
Design of environment has big influence on human behaviour. Driver tend to speed on straight, wide and smooth roads. On the other hand, driver becomes more cautious along small streets. If the driver already slow down to walking speed before a junction or pedestrian crossing, it does not demand a big heart to stop and wait for a crossing elderly. But if the car is moving fast at the same junction or crossing, even a very kind person will be reluctant to jam brake his car. It takes more “kindness effort” to perform the “right” (read SAFE) behaviour. Road design should help to make it easy to behave safely.

2) Education

Education is to clarify safe behaviour and gracious attitude for all road users. A good example is the Netherlands. When I started to drive a car (or rent one from site) as a foreigner there, I was told to remember too things when not sure: Give way to the right, and give way to cyclists. Their road design is in such a way that everyone will intuitively drive/cycle/walk in a safe way for 90% of the situation. The remaining situation, for example at the junction of small roads where there is no traffic lights, “Give way to your right” clarify who should gives way to who. If the road design already makes road users behave safe for most of the situations, education can be more effectively focus on the remaining grey area. The next point is about gracious attitude. Greater power come with bigger responsibility. The principle is: the bigger, heavier vehicle gives way to the lighter, smaller vehicle. Therefore big lorries gives ways to cars, cars give ways to motorcycle, all motorized vehicle give way to bicycle and bicycle give ways to pedestrians.

3) Legislation.

The law should be able to deal with¬†dangerous¬†behaviour¬†effectively. To balance and to reinforced gracious driving attitude, the “burden to proof innocent” should be on the operator of the heavier vehicle. In the Netherlands, the heavier vehicle driver is considered to be at fault unless he/she can produce evidence that prove otherwise. That give the heavier vehicle driver an added incentive to drive more carefully.

A practical note, legislation system will have difficulty to deal with disputes if the number of incident is simply too high. Currently there are around ~11,000 traffic incidents involving injuries annually. It require a lot of resources to investigate each case in details, it becomes a capacity issue. In this respect, safe road infrastructure and education (clarify the remaining 10%) can help to reduce the number of incidents to a more manageable level. Harsh law is not needed for kind minded person, but it works for the rest.

It is like a three legs stool, we need all three, and in this order:

1) Safe roads –¬†reduce the bulk of dangerous¬†behaviour. Setting the scene to make dangerous road behaviour unnatural.

2) Education – to clarify remaining grey zone for drivers/cyclists/pedestrians. It helps to promote mutual respect and bring out the better part of human being.

3) Legislation – to deal with the few dangerous road users heavily, as a¬†deterrent¬†for future incidents.¬†Harsh law should be used to deal with those who just don’t care of other’s safety.

Letters to the authorities

After our letter to MOT on May 28, more people including members of LovecyclingSG, are writing in to various authorities request for safer road for cyclist.

Taiwoon Woon (2012-08-18) to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong

As I got more involved with cycling community building, I begin also to take more notice about the lack of attention for the cyclists safety. We as lovecyclingsg have been actively trying to improve our cyclist’s odds by sharing more information, conducting safety clinic. ¬†We also wrote to Ministry of Transport and LTA to ask that more be done for cyclists safety and share on the cyclists plight.¬†¬†<< this is the email message to MOT .We also have had a first meeting with LTA on the 2nd July and there is not reply from them. I don’t know what more to do which is why I am writing to you directly.
Today early morning, 3 cyclists was hit by a lorry at Loyang road. One of the rider name is Freddy Khoo. I don’t know him personally but I was told he didn’t not make it. He leaves behind a wife and son. This is what is left of his bicycle.
Sir, I appeal to you. Please help make the roads safe for cyclists.

Adriane Lee (2012-08-19) to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong

The government is asking Singaporeans and residents to be more environmentally sustainable and to embrace sports as part of an active lifestyle. Yet when the call is answered by embracing cycling, we pay for it either with verbal abuse or our lives.

Let not the death of these cyclists and the psychological trauma carried for life by these drivers involved be in vain, let us work together road users and the government to make sure these instances do not happen again.

You spoke during the National Day rally of a Singapore that is inclusive, a nation that we all embrace as one. One where the government and the people work together. Then let it start by a very simple act of promoting peaceful co existence among all road users be they motorised or otherwise, for that person on that bicycle regardless of race, religion, nationality is someone else’s father, mother, son, daughter, brother and sister just like you and me. By doing so, we will show to other nations, we are an inclusive society and one that Singaporeans can be proud to call home.

Stephen Choy to Minister of Transport, MR Liu Tuck Yew

Dear Minister Lui

My friend is dead.

If, only if, I had written this letter earlier, Freddy might still be able to cycle with me in the next Ironman race.

To the spokesperson from LTA, I say shame on you. Shame on you for taking the easy way out. If NParks is able to build 300km of park connectors (by 2015), surely the LTA is capable of painting a 1.5m lane on our roads. This is merely the width of 2 carton boxes. Are cyclists not worth that. If having cycling lanes islandwide prove too daunting a task, then perhaps we can start small, start a pilot project to paint only the more popular (and dangerous) cycling routes РNeo Tew Avenue, Mandai Road, Changi Coastal Road, Upper Thompson Road, West Coast Highway.

Calvin Boo (2012-08-19)

Sirs and Madams, between the two evils of speeding vehicles / drivers and cyclists running pedestrian lights, which one do you think has the potential to inflict the most harm? (No, I do not condone cyclists flouting the law). What is Traffic Police’s priority and what concrete measures are LTA taking to protect the rights of vulnerable road users?

But most of all, I beg you to step up enforcement and do something very concrete about those speeding vehicles and reckless drivers who are running wild all over Singapore.

There’s another accident out there waiting to happen that can possibly be prevented. Something needs to be done, and urgently.

Andrew Wan (2012-08-20)

Void of clear answers, many cyclists ‘invent’ their own rules, & do whatever they think is safe to get them from Point A to B

On the other hand, some cyclists choose not to put their lives in danger and continue to cycle on corridors, pavements but to the ire of pedestrians.

Now stuck in a Catch-22 situation, cyclists are officially the pariahs of all public places, which is a very unfortunate position for us.  After all, cycling is just a simple, fun, self-sufficient, healthy & green activity for people with different needs Рsports, leisure, commuting.  Since when it got so complicated and dangerous?!?!

I wish to appeal to the relevant authorities to have a good look on the guidelines, infrastructure, traffic rules etc for cyclists; and implement what is necessary to improve the situation.

Jesse Cai (2012-08-20)

When an accident happens resulting in the death of a cyclist, it doesn’t ends there. It starts with the grieving and suffering of the family, the loss of a father, a mother, of a husband, a wife, of a brother, a sister, of a friend. But how many readers see and read beyond the news print of a death cyclist? Do they feel the same pain, the suffering of the affected family?

If you ask me how the government can help? I say, pass the death sentence for reckless driving resulting in death. Period.


Want our kids to have a sense of belonging? Make our roads bicycle and pedestrian friendly

Children who were driven everywhere weren’t able to accurately draw how the streets in their community connected

Heavy car traffic changes the way children see and experience the world by diminishing their connection to community and neighbors. It is discovered that heavy traffic in cities erodes human connections in neighborhoods, contributing to feelings of dissatisfaction and loneliness. A new study has shown how constantly being in and around cars affects children’s perception and understanding of their home territory.

Read more: Kids Who Get Driven Everywhere Don’t Know Where They’re Going