With the increasing use of bicycles and personal mobility devices (PMDs) such as electric scooters, kickscooters and hoverboards, motorists in Singapore may have noticed that more of them are using the roads even though they are not allowed to do so. Inconsiderate and reckless cyclists and PMD users using the roads can endanger not only their own lives, but also those of other road users. With already existing tensions between motorists and cyclists, the addition of PMD users create even more conflicts among road users.
Motorists vs Cyclists
Motorists’ most common complaints about cyclists include their squeezing into small gaps between vehicles, cutting across lanes without warning, ignoring stop signs and red traffic lights, and failing to signal when filtering or turning. As fellow road users, motorists may find it unfair that cyclists do not follow road rules, and can get away with infringing them.
However, cyclists also have their own grievances with motorists. As more vulnerable road users, many cyclists feel that motorists should be more considerate. Yet, they seldom give cyclists respect or right of way on Singapore’s roads. Although drivers blame cyclists for breaking traffic rules, they themselves are also guilty of speeding, tailgating, hogging and drink driving, to name a few.
New Rules for Bicycles and PMDs on Various Paths
Bicycles and PMDs are currently not allowed on footpaths in Singapore. However, the Active Mobility Advisory Panel recently submitted its proposed rules and code of conduct for the safe use of footpaths, cycling paths and shared paths to the Transport Ministry, with proposals to allow different types of PMDs on the various paths. Their recommendations include:
- Footpaths with a speed limit of 15km/h can accommmodate personal mobility aids (motorised wheelchairs and mobility scooters), conventional bicycles and PMDs.
- Cycling and shared paths with a speed limit of 25km/h can accommodate personal mobility aids, conventional bicycles, PMDs and electric bicycles.
- Only conventional and electric bicycles are allowed to continue using the roads.
If these recommendations are accepted and adopted, cyclists and PMD users can use footpaths, cycling and shared paths, without having to ride on the roads with motorists. Hopefully, it will lessen the risks of accidents that may occur due to inconsiderate or reckless cyclists/PMD users. However, bicycles are still allowed to use the roads if they choose to do so.
Using footpaths, cycling and shared paths involves another group of people: pedestrians. Cyclists and PMD users on these paths should ensure to follow the code of conduct so as to safeguard all users of the paths. Bicycles and PMDs should ride cautiously around pedestrians, who move slower than they do.
We can all help to make our experience on the roads more pleasant, by being gracious to one another. Regardless of whether you are driving a car, riding a motorbike or bicycle, a little courtesy goes a long way.