As road cyclists, we spend most of our cycling time on the road. However, it shouldn’t be much of a secret that we’re not only road cyclists, we’re also overall bicycle fanatics! Which means we also do other disciplines and we also own multiple bikes that aren’t road bikes. This also means that when we’re not on our road bikes, we also use park connectors, cycling paths and even pedestrian pavements (although we hate this most and try to plan our cycling routes in a way that we can avoid this as much as possible).
We feel that this has been highlighted a number of times but the recent pandemic and consequent bike boom has gotten a lot of people to pick up cycling either as a hobby or as a means of commuting.
As such, the Singapore government has looked into our cycling infrastructure, something a lot of long-time cyclists have brought up for some time. The Singapore government recently released The Green Plan 2030, in which a key target is to almost triple the cycling network that currently exists from 460km to 1320km. In fact, the first phase of this plan has begun, with the government looking into adding 160km of cycling paths in the eastern sector of Singapore, covering areas like Geylang, Marine Parade, Pasir Ris, Serangoon and even Bishan. This plan will also look into possible reclamation of road space for cycling lanes and how to execute that out seamlessly, as well as connecting existing paths properly.
Credit: Straits Times Singapore
There are a couple of things in the current cycling infrastructure that can be improved on and we gather some opinions of cyclists online. The first one has been briefly addressed by the authorities’ target to connect existing paths properly. If you’re a cyclist who uses cycling paths, you will find that paths in a lot of towns are disconnected from each other. For example, a stretch from one junction to another can have a cycling path on the left side of the road, while the next stretch will have the cycling path on the right side. This would mean that cyclists have to cross the junction just to cycle on the cycling paths continuously.
The second point is similar to the first one in that paths are not seamless and smooth. However, this point pertains more to bus stops. Cycling paths usually stop at bus stops and do not go around them. As such, cyclists have to move across the bus stop, which can sometimes be crowded with people waiting for the bus. Pedestrians will expect cyclists to dismount and walk across. Of course, we feel that all cyclists should slow down to almost walking pace. However, we feel that dismounting every 50-100m is unrealistic for people who commute more than 10km per trip.
A third one would be the maintenance and upkeep of cycling paths. For example, the cycling path along Tanah Merah Coastal Road is a welcomed one. However, due to trucks moving sand, granite and other rocks along that road, a lot of stones and debris is swept to the side of the road, where the cycling lane is. There have been plenty of posts on social media by drivers complaining about cyclists cycling outside the cycling lane. We feel that this is dangerous for both drivers and cyclists alike. However, we objectively feel that something should be done to help clear the debris from the cycling lanes, as this also poses danger for cyclists, who can experience sudden punctures.
These are some of the common problems faced by cyclists in regard to the cycling infrastructure in Singapore. As a kid, my dream was to have a separate cycling lane running separate just beside the common expressways. Of course, that is the dream and maybe one day us cyclists will get to enjoy that. Till then, stay safe and ride safe, no matter on the roads, paths, park connectors or pedestrian walkways!