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Singapore bicycle routes (Google map)

(2017-07-01) Updated link of new map:

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!


What does it takes to make Singapore a truly bicycle friendly city?

To Dream Big, and take the Low Hanging Fruit first

It is wonderful news that the National Cycling Plan (NCP) targets to complete 700km off-road bicycle paths by 2030. The recent announcement by PM Lee about AMK town to be the test bed for new and innovative ideas for new bicycle town is a concrete milestone as Singapore moving towards a bicycle friendly city.

However, is 700km bicycle network enough to make Singapore a real bicycle friendly city? What does it takes to make Singapore a truly bicycle friendly city?

Let’s define a bicycle friendly city as a city where you can safely and conveniently use a bicycle to go where you need to go. 400km of the 700km NCP cycling routes are Park Connectors (PCN) which are predominantly for recreational purposes. The remaining 300km are Intra-town cycling routes which are more useful for connecting major transport nodes, town centers and amenities such as food centers and markets.

Today we have over 3000km of local access roads in Singapore connecting all the places where people need to go.

300km intra-town cycling routes vs 3000km normal roads.

This means by 2030, in average, you have a 10% chance (300km/3000km) to get to where you need to go if you are using the NCP bicycle route. If in 9 out of 10 cases I am not able to use my car to get to where I need to go, I probably won’t drive. Similarly 10% access is not friendly enough for bicycle users. So what does it takes to make Singapore a truly bicycle friendly city?

The solution is in fact obvious to many regular bicycle users all over Singapore: as shown here, they use roads as well as pavements and PCNs. The only problem is that it is not safe enough and it does not give confidence to others who would like to try using a bicycle. So what can we do?

I’d suggest to dream big, yet act pragmatic and look for “low-hanging fruit” solutions.

To Dream Big:

A) Bicycles, as a transport mode, should take up at least a 30% share**.

B) Bicycles should be able to access 90%+ of places people need to go.

C) The entire bicycle network must be safe enough for your 10-year-old kid to cycle independently.

It may seems these are impossible dreams but let’s see what are the “low-hanging fruit” that is available:

Take the Low-hanging-fruit solutions: 

1) Lift the ban for cycling on pavements. This will immediately add 3000km of off-road cycleable routes to the network, since most roads in Singapore come with pavements. Simultaneously, introduce a “strict liability law” — in case of any accident between a cyclist and a pedestrian, the cyclist is always liable. Increase the fine to make sure that all cyclists take very good care of pedestrians when sharing pavements.

2) Improve road crossing and road junction design so that it is safe for your 10-year-old kid to cross independently. Without safe crossings, the “network” is not connected.

Dangerous crossing.

Safe crossing example.

These two ideas will unlock the existing potential of Singapore with minimum effort. But it is an intermediate solution because it is not ideal to have cyclists mix with pedestrians in most situations. Therefore we should improve the on-road cycling routes with the following:

3) Introduce a 30km/h speed limit for all streets within 3km from each town center.

4) Put a bicycle sign on Bus Lanes. Gradually improve the bus stop design to allow cyclist to pass through a bus stop without interfering or interference from stopping buses.

5) Repaint neighbourhood streets with excessively wide lanes to standard 3-metre lanes. Use the space left to introduce protected bicycle lanes on road.

With a pragmatic approach, we should be able to unlock the potential of (off-road) cycling as a mode of transport within a few years, and continuously improve the efficiency and safety of the (on road) cycling network at the same time.

**A mode share of 30% share for bicycles will help to increase 33% capacity of public transport as well as 16.5% of road capacity in Singapore. This will be able to justify at least 10% of LTA’s investments to improve bicycle infrastructure. How is that possible?  To make it simple, let’s say today transport mode share is 70% on public transport, 30% use cars and taxis. 25% from public transport and 5% from cars shifted to create the 30% of bicycle mode share. This means bicycle will help to relief 25/75, or one third of the loading from public transport, and at the same time 5/30, or 1/6 of loading on cars. What kind of budget will be required to make such improvement possible, even if space is not an issue? Therefore it is a no brainer to spend billions of budget to improve bicycle infrastructure. It will benefits all road users.


PM Lee announce Ang Mo Kio as the latest test bed for new cycling town

The Singapore National Cycling Plan get a substantial endorsement from PM Lee Hsiang Loong. At the launch of the “Clean and Green Singapore 2015” on November 8th, 2014. PM Lee was surprised by the spontaneous applause when he mentioned “Bicycle!” as an alternative mode of transport he want to encourage. He cited his experience of cycling in Copenhagen and offer Ang Mo Kio as a “test bed” for innovative bicycle infrastructure to make cycling a choice mode of everyday transport. This will be a significant milestone of the National Cycling Plan which targets to complete 700km bicycle paths by 2030.

The role of cycling as part of a bigger picture of Sustainable Singapore vision 2015 is becoming more clear now, as described in the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint 2015:

Cycling and walking will become popular forms of getting around in our neighbourhoods and regions. …..   With a “car-lite” Singapore, we can reduce our carbon footprint, as well as enjoy fresher air, a cleaner environment and a healthier lifestyle.

Here are some concrete actions mentioned in the blueprint:

• Introduce innovative features and creative designs to towns to provide a better cycling and walking environment, starting with Ang Mo Kio

• Develop a comprehensive cycling network spanning more than 700 km by 2030, with supporting infrastructure and a code of conduct to promote safe cycling within and across towns

• Create more car-free spaces in housing estates and the city, such as the Civic District, where roads are temporarily or permanently closed for public activities


Sustainable Singapore Blueprint

Learning from London’s mistakes

Recently 5 cyclists died in London within a short period of 9 days. At the same time New York CitiBike just just completed 5 millions rides over the first 5 month without a single person killed. Consider the CitiBike is used by all sorts of people from young to elderly, including tourists, this contrastic experience between London’s deadly “Cycling Superhighway” and New York’s bicycle friendly design contains a lot to be learnt.

A short video released by The Guardian provides a close look of London’s “Cycling Superhighway”. An experienced cyclist will be able to point out a few design issues relates to cycling safety. Some say more death is expected because new bicycle facilities attracts more people to use bicycle and therefore more accidents is inevitable. I think this is purely nonsense. If that’s true, New York should report similar number of cyclist death during that 5 millions rides.

Apart from feeling sad for those families and friends of the victims, I believe there are important lessons to be learnt for professional road designers:

“Your job is directly affecting people’s life and everyday wellbeing, please consider the vulnerable road users when designing.” If New York can do it, so does other cities, just don’t repeat the mistakes made by London’s road planners.

Looking at the video, I cannot imagine the one who design this so call Cycling Superhighway will cycle on it themselves. Let’s first check out the video:

I captured screenshots of area that is showing some safety issues. I will add more comment tomorrow. Feel free to add your comments in Facebook here:


Fig. 1

Fig. 1 Wide and straight, does this looks like a road you can drive fast? 
Painting half a car lane and call it a bicycle superhighway, this design suggests bicycle is to mix with high speed traffic ..



Fig. 2

Fig. 2 Driver abuse the bike lane by parking there, exactly as some people mentioned the reason not to have bike lane… but it doesn’t have to be like this. In New York, the parked cars are used to provide a safety barrier between cyclist and fast moving traffic. 


Fig. 3

Fig. 3  The “Bike super highway stop abruptly, not transitition space to prepare the dirvers and cyclists to slow down when they have to directly mix on the road. Extremely dangerous, by design. 



Fig. 4

Fig. 4 Here an example of a fast van just over took the cyclist (who took this video) very closely because the driver is forced to share half a lane with the bicycle.



Fig. 5

Fig. 5 Finally a segregated section of the BSHW, it only allows one bicycle at a time and the separation from big lorry is way too little. Pathetic, but at least it is relatively safe compare to other parts.



Fig. 6

Fig. 6 The separation suddenly stop!!?? What are you supposed to do here, the cyclist is right at the blind spot position of turning long vehicles.



Fig. 7

Fig. 7 The yellow lorry on the right can easily eat into the “invisible” BSHW and kill a moving cyclists there, and the driver will say, honestly, “I didn’t see him!” another example of “likely accident caused by road design”



Fig. 8

Fig. 8 The BSHW reappear again



Fig. 9

Fig. 9 The BSHW suddenly end right before a junction. What are the cyclists supposed to do here?



Fig. 10

Fig. 10 Let’s mix with the traffic again..



Fig. 11

Fig. 11 Dangerous crossing , by road design (or the lack of it!)



Fig. 12

Fig. 12 Now this is a proper bike lane, wide enough and with good separation when there is fast moving traffic.



Fig. 13

Fig. 13 The end of the better part of the BSHW

Below is how my friend Calvin Boo describe his experience of riding in London last year:

Having heard about and seen the painted cycle lanes and advanced stop boxes of London, I thought London was cycle-friendly until I tried riding on the city roads one evening … and nearly got knocked off the bike twice on a short 25mins ride (once by a car, once by a bus).

Personally, the poor cyclist safety in London is not just a question of infrastructure, although it stems from infrastructure. The road culture in London is, to sum up in one word, aggresive; aggresive drivers, aggresive cyclists. Aggressive attitudes from both sides does not serve anyone well. 

On London roads, I see cyclists riding at speed along the roads, not alone, not in twos, not in threes … but in hordes. And this at peak hours of the day. I haven’t been to Amsterdam, but from the many videos I have seen, my feel is that the road culture is different. 

Sunday ride with Minister Khaw Boon Wan

Minster Khaw with 3 princesses of LCSG

Folks in LCSG are very excited to meet Mr. Khaw Boon Wan in person. he bring his team from MND together with friends from NPark, URA and HDB to join our Sunday morning ride at Punggle Water way. After riding and talking to him, I’m very impressed by the works done under his ministry (URA, NPark, HDB). Cycling is now a wonderful leisure activity along the 200km of PCN today. Within HDB towns, thanks to the traffic calming and people friendly design, more and more people are able to use bicycle to go to nearby markets, food centres and MRT stations. He believes cycling is not only efficient and green, it is also a great medium to connect people and communities together. Thank you Mr. Khaw!

Lang Ng and Jok Kwang chatting with Mr. Khaw just before the ride.

Taiwwon and momo leading the LCSG convoy to the big surprise (no one know Mr. Khaw will be riding with us!)

Photo at the starting point : Punggol Water Way.

Friends from URA, NPark talking to Mr. Khaw

Teach Esther presenting a hand made “LCSG heart” to Mr. Khaw

More photos flickr:

Read more: SmallWheelsBigSmile

Opportunity is hidden in plain sight (How N.Y. was transformed in 6 years)

Link to the source:

In this funny and thought-provoking talk, Janette Sadik-Khan, transportation commissioner of New York City, shares projects that have reshaped street life in the 5 boroughs, including pedestrian zones in Times Square, high-performance buses and a 6,000-cycle-strong bike share. Her mantra: Do bold experiments that are cheap to try out.

As commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation, Janette Sadik-Khan is responsible for the smooth running of a New York that hides in plain sight… the streets, highways, bridges, signs and lights that make up the bustling metropolis.

What I like most about Janette’s talk is that all these transformation can be experiment quickly with paint and simple furnitures. The resistance is much less if people know that if it doesn’t work out, they can easily go back to the previous situation. This is how New York public space has been changed quickly from car centric to people centric. In this respect, Singapore, the Little Red Dot, can learn a lot from the Big Apple.

Fewer cars, fewer roads


Fewer cars, fewer roads

By Kishore Mahbubani, For The Straits Times BY INVITATION

A FEW weeks ago, on Aug 28, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the famous speech given by Martin Luther King Jr entitled “I have a dream”. He said: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.”
The goal of his speech was to open the roads to advancement for his fellow black citizens. I too have a dream for my fellow Singaporeans. However, while the goal of his speech was to open the roads to advancement, my goal is to close the roads to advancement for my fellow citizens. The only difference between him and me is that while he was speaking metaphorically, I am speaking literally. We do not need many more physical roads or much more physical road space in Singapore.
One undeniable hard truth of Singapore is that we live in one of the smallest countries in the world. This is also why we have one of the most expensive land costs in the entire world. Apart from Monaco, no other United Nations member state has land as expensive as Singapore has per square foot. Hence, we should value every square foot. Every square foot we give up to road space is a square foot taken away from other valuable uses: pedestrian walkways, bike paths, green parks and so on.
To be fair to our road planners, they are caught in a bind because Singapore is continuing to grow its population of cars. If we expand the number of cars, we have no choice but to expand the amount of roads to carry more cars. So the real solution is to reduce the demand for more cars in Singapore. How do we do this?
The problem here is that a car remains an essential part of the Singapore dream. Yet, if every Singaporean achieves his or her dream, we will get a national nightmare. To prevent this national nightmare from happening, we have created harsh policies to raise prices and reduce the demand for cars.
Status symbols
PARADOXICALLY, the high prices of cars have made them even more desirable as status symbols. This is why luxury brands trump cheap brands in Singapore sales. If the desirability of cars keeps rising, our efforts to curtail car ownership will be as successful as a dog chasing its tail.
So what is the alternative solution? The solution is obvious: Change the Singapore dream!
Yes, almost every Singaporean reading this article will laugh out loud at this suggestion. How can any well-off Singaporean deprive himself of a car? It serves as the most reliable form of transportation as well as a powerful status symbol. The minute you own a car, especially a Mercedes-Benz, BMW or Lexus, your friends know that you have arrived.
But for 10 years of my life, I have actually lived on another even more crowded tiny island where it is not rational to own a car. In fact, it is considered downright stupid to buy and own a car if you live in Manhattan. All this came home clearly to me one evening in Manhattan when I saw the former chairman of Citibank, Mr Walter Wriston, and his wife Kathryn standing on First Avenue with their arms raised and trying to hail a cab.
Clearly, Mr Wriston was then one of the richest men on our planet. He could have easily bought a car in Manhattan. Yet, it just did not make sense.
The eco-system of public transport that Manhattan had created with a combination of subway trains, public buses and readily accessible taxis meant that in a crunch you could get anywhere in Manhattan using public transport.
More significantly, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, another clearly very rich man, used to take a subway train to work in Manhattan.
The former mayor of Colombian capital Bogota, Mr Enrique Penalosa, put it very well when he said: “A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars. It’s where the rich use public transportation.”
I have been to Bogota. When I visited it in 1992, the city was so unsafe that I was given a private bodyguard to walk down its equivalent of Orchard Road. Mr Penalosa transformed the city so much that Latino Fox News described him as “one of the world’s pre- eminent minds on making modern cities more liveable.”
Mr Penalosa is quoted as saying: “When we talk about car-free cities, we’re not talking about some hippie dream. Not only do they exist, but they also are the most successful cities on the planet. The ones where the real estate is the most valuable, the ones that attract most tourists, the most investment, the ones that generate the most creative industries.”
There was a time when Singapore’s experiments in improving its urban environment would get global attention. Today, it is a man like Mr Penalosa, with bigger dreams than our dreams, who is described by Latino Fox News as a man whose “work and ideas have gained him international attention and a loyal fan base that includes New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg”.
Mr Paul Steely White, executive director of New York City’s Transportation Alternatives, has also said about New York City that “the way the streets of the greatest city in the world are being used is changing fundamentally… People are beginning to understand that it’s entirely possible and really very desirable to lead a life without being tethered to an automobile”.
We therefore have to replace the Singapore dream with the Manhattan or Bogota dream.
We have to give up this insane dream of owning a car and replace it with an ecosystem of a public transport system that makes it irrational to own a car.
Singapore’s failure
AND this is probably one of Singapore’s biggest failures in its first 50 years: We have failed to develop a world-class ecosystem of public transport. We do have a good public transport network, but this has not kept pace with the population’s expectations, which include a more reliable MRT system with fewer breakdowns, predictable bus services, taxis available in thundery showers, and pools of electric cars for ready rental.
So why did we fail? The answers must be complex. But one fundamental error could be simple. We expected every artery of this ecosystem to be financially viable. The disastrous result of looking at each artery and not looking at the ecosystem as a whole is that while each artery made sense in isolation, the combination did not result in a good ecosystem. Even more dangerously, by looking at each unit in isolation, we did not consider its impact on the island or the nation as a whole.
Let me give a specific example from the area of expanding road space. Many Singaporeans of my generation are still puzzled that the road planners of Singapore destroyed our precious National Library on Stamford Road to build a little tunnel under Fort Canning to save two minutes of driving time. The road planners who designed this tunnel had no idea that they were effectively shooting a bullet through the soul of Singapore by destroying the National Library.
This is why we have to be fair to our road planners. The only key performance indicator (KPI) given to them is to make traffic flow smoothly. With this KPI, it is logical to build more roads or expand road space. Hence, it was perfectly natural for our road planners to announce recently that Clementi Road and the Pan-Island Expressway would be expanded. I am sure many motorists who use that stretch of road daily will approve. But when do we say that enough is enough?
This is why we need a new dream. Does this mean Singaporeans will stop driving cars?
Absolutely not. My dream is to walk out of my house, use a smart card to pick up an electric car on rent and drive it anywhere I want to. We can replace car ownership with car pools. In fact, other cities have begun trying this. In Vauban, a suburb of Freiburg, Germany, 70 per cent of residents choose to live without private cars due to excellent city planning and a car sharing system. Before you scoff at electric cars, let me tell you that electric cars have faster torque than petrol-driven cars.
In short, we can have an alternative dream for Singapore. Let us dream of an island with fewer cars and fewer roads. It will be closer to being paradise on earth.
The writer is dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore.

What would a city looks like if car is banned?

Machinac island
Photo credite:
Automotive is such a fundamental part of any urban transport system nowadays, It is hard to imagine a city without car. But such a place exists, and car has been banned since 1989. Strangely this city is part of USA – the kingdom of automotive!

The island city is called Mackinac Island, located just offshore mainland Michigan. Although the small island is home to only around 500 people, in the summer, that number swells to 15,000 during tourism season; aside from a couple of emergency vehicles, there’s nary a car to be seen. Transportation on Mackinac is limited to walking, horse-drawn carriages, and bicycling — a pleasant departure from the car-centric society that exists beyond its borders.

“The air is cleaner and injuries are fewer,” writes Jeff Potter, who published an article about Mackinac. “Island residents are healthier due to the exercise. There’s a cherished egalitarianism: everyone gets around the same way. They also save a tremendous amount of money that would normally go to commuting by cars.”

bird's eye view of mackinac Island
Photo credit:

Update on “Deadly junction” design

Thanks to an article “One Fatal accident, many questions.” by Mr. Hank Fook Kwang, Managing Editor of Straits Time and Dr. Chin Kian Keong, the Cycling Champion in LTA, I had a special opportunity to share my study of the “Deadly junction” with the Road Safety and Road Engineer team in LTA yesterday. The Safety team is responsible to identify and recommend improvements and the Road Engineer is the one who implement the changes. I really appreciate the valuable time the team spent with me since they have to attend to 14,000 feedback a year.

I have yet to receive an acknowledgement of my feedback from LTA, but the team seems to agree to the risks mentioned in my last blog entry “Don’t blame the user if the design is bad.“.
Risks at the “Deadly junction”:
1) right turning cars whose drivers are stressed to avoid collision with on coming cars, and may miss a pedestrian crossing the road on his right hand side
2) left turning HGVs (with large blind spot) whose drivers can’t see pedestrian at the round
3) today’s road users are more distracted by mobile devices.

Further, I share the inspiration from road junctions design in other major cities, including Japan (Tokyo, Kyoto), Hong Kong, New York, and Amsterdam. Japan is particularly relevant because a lot of cyclist use the pavement (legally), similar to cyclist using walking way in Singapore (illegally).

Here is the link to the file shared:
Traffic Junction

Related posts:
Don’t blame the user if the design is bad
Unsafe driving behaviour due to bad junction design

Don’t blame the user if the design is bad

bad road design makes users at risk

Don’t blame the user if the design is bad

Yesterday an article published in the Straits Times is very relevant to the safety issues highlighted in the picture above. Quoted partly here:

One fatal accident, many questions

(Straitstimes, 5 May, 2013)
By Han Fook Kwang Managing Editor

(Quote partly)
What was it about this (Clementi) junction that made it deadly? (three people has died at the junction in 2002, 2003 and this year)

At first glance, it looked like any busy intersection. But from where I stood, you could see that because of the way the road is angled, a bus has to make a wider turn than cars, and unless the driver turned his head all the way to the left, it is possible to miss someone beginning to step onto the junction to cross it.

Could the driver involved have missed seeing Madam Zhang and, in that split second, a life was lost? We don’t know yet what happened, so it’s best not to speculate about how it happened or who was responsible.

I am no road safety expert and I don’t normally do traffic accidents in this space, but there are two issues that have wider implications beyond that tragedy.

The first has to do with the depth of investigation and level of professionalism undertaken whenever a fatal or serious accident occurs.

It is pertinent to ask how thorough the investigations after the two previous fatalities were and if any recommendations were made to improve safety at this junction. And what did SBS do to alert its drivers about the possible blind spots there?

Some of those interviewed in news reports wondered whether, at such a busy junction, when the lights turn in the pedestrians’ favour (blinking green man), vehicles should be allowed to make the left turn.

When it involves right-turning traffic and pedestrians crossing, it’s even more tricky. The motorist has to look out for not only incoming traffic, but pedestrians as well. At some junctions, it’s an accident waiting to happen.

These issues raise the question of whether we have experts with deep knowledge and experience to spot a safety weakness not immediately obvious to the layman.

It calls for a high level of professionalism of the staff involved in the various government agencies – in this case, the Traffic Police and Land Transport Authority (LTA).

But more important is the corporate culture in which every staff member, from top management to police on motorcycles, takes ownership of road safety and feels responsible for improving it.

It requires lower-level staff to be empowered to constantly and pro-actively look out for weaknesses in the system and not just do their narrowly defined jobs. When front-line staff are not empowered, they stop giving feedback on matters beyond their own tasks, whether it’s about overcrowded trains, clogged drains or unsafe roads.
(End of quote)

Feedback from Facebook:

Adi Roman
This is exact scenario at east coast road with still road. i driving as driver A always from my house to PIE. is dangerous indeed.
Is absolutely dangerous. Driver A will see green light and a small window between two cars coming from opp direction, will try to rush in ignoring the pedestrians which are on green as well. If he slows to avoid pedestrians he may get hit from oncoming traffic. I have seen it before at Jurong East library. The solution is to have green for going straight and the pedestrians. Then red the pedestrians and allow turn right only. yes, that will create bigger jams so probably that’s why is not used.

Seedoubleyou Choonwei
Right yes, there are a few left turns that cuts across pedestrian paths that allow traffic to make it in very fast and its very very dangerous. along lavender st. Such turnings should be redesigned to slow down traffic that are turning in!
same design along Lavender st turning into Kings George! and that area has alot of elderly! alamakkkkkk

Wei Shuan
This is the most dangerous road scenario i keep reminding my kids to watch out for vehicles in front and behind them. I think that two pedestrians crossing from the opposite side are at higher risk. It is hard for the Taxi driver to notice them, especially if they dash across on their bicycle. This is why it is encouraged to slowly push the bike over when crossing at such junction.

David Ng
Nothing is wrong with the design. I am of the opinion that we, as pedestrian, must at all time use the road responsibly – walk fast, watch out, don’t daydream, stop using earphone, and so forth. As a driver, we must exercise “Patience” – don’t race, leave home earlier to avoid rushing, stop using the phone, and so forth.

Dennis LH Cheong
The design may be fine, for many years, but many things have changed in the recent decade+. Cost and pressure of living has increased, more cars and traffic, new and mixed cultures among road users (both pedestrians and all kinds of drivers). Maybe can check the statistics over the years if it support my conjecture. Thus, maybe it is time for the UN to recommend a standard road design and/or principle, at least for all major cities.

Sharon Tang
There’s quite a lot of roads with these kind of junctions, in many cases (driver A) is not supposed to turn right from where he is until the green man turns red and the signal for him to turn right lights up as green,but in several cases i have seen drivers turning quickly to overpass drivers going straight from Driver B’s direction.

Read more

Unsafe driving behaviour due to bad junction design
Safe driving and walking behaviour guided by good design