Friday, February 15, 2008

Keep Cyclists Out Of The Pedestrian Footpath - Part 1

Should cyclists be allowed to ride on the footpath? Up till now, whether you allowed or disallowed, they are already on the footpath daily. Even if you tell them about Rule 28 of Road Traffic Rules (RTR) disallow them to be on the footpath, they are either ignorant of it or disregard it.

Since the cyclists already disregard the Rule 28 of RTR or are ignorant of it, why do we still want to proceed on with the 1 yr pilot project to study the feasibility of sharing our footpath with cyclists? Personally I find this project - a waste of time and money. I will tell you why is it so in my Part 3.

Try asking any cyclists on the footpath what is Rule 28 of RTR or what other rules and laws are governing the cyclists in Singapore - the answer is probably most of the cyclists are not aware of it! Why? Everyone is cycling on the footpath, on pedestrian crossings, and in fact everywhere they like daily - that there doesn't seem to have any rules or laws governing cyclists.

This episode or this probably started it all - During the Committee of Supply debates in 2005, Senior Minister of State for Law & Home Affairs, A/P Ho Peng Kee, in response to a parliamentary question by Tampines MP Ms Irene Ng, said that the issue of whether or not cycling on footways should be allowed would be reviewed.

In this part 1, I will talk about the rules and laws governing the cyclists.

The laws governing cycling on the public roads are set out in the Road Traffic Act, Chapter 276 of Singapore (“RTA”) and the rules made pursuant to the RTA. Some of the rules relevant to cyclists are the Road Traffic Rules (“RTR”) and the Road Traffic (Bicycles) Rules of 25 November 1955 (the “RT(B)R”).

a) According to Rule 28 of the RTR, “No vehicle, except perambulators, shall be driven, parked or ridden on the footway of a road.

b) The RTA defines a "vehicle" as “any vehicle whether mechanically propelled or otherwise;”. A "bicycle" is in turn defined as “a two-wheeled pedal cycle constructed or adapted for use as a means of conveyance;”.

c) Rule 10 of the RT(B)R requires a bicycle to be ridden in “an orderly manner and with due regard for the safety of others”. The RT(B)R does not prohibit cyclists from cycling on pavements.

The Traffic Police has confirm that it is illegal for cyclists to cycle on pavements, and any offender will be fined S$20.

You may read more in detail from SACA here.

Besides Rule 28 of RTR, what other laws are there applicable to cyclists? You may check them out again at SACA site from page 5 to 11.

If the reason for allowing cyclists on the footpath is because the number of accidents involving cyclists on the road is increasing, than it's not solving the root of the problem. We are looking at 300 to 400 plus a year, is it a large figure to change the law? If yes, than compared to the number of motorcycles or motorbikes on the same footpath daily - I guess the number is even much much more! Why didn't the authority do something immediately to remove the bikes from the same footpath?

Moreover, the number of accidents involving cyclists - is it due to the cyclists carelessness and recklessness? If yes, why still put them on the footpath? If it's due to the motorists fault, than we should penalise the driver more.

In part 2, we will look at some of the past years newspaper articles and letters regarding cyclists on footpaths.

Before I end, pls take a poll on whether "Should cyclists be allowed on the footpath" at the top right sidebar of this blog. Thank you.


Big Dale said...

If outlawing bikes from the walkways is done for reasons of safety, how do we justify the deaths and injuries caused by cars hitting cyclists.

From what I have read, it would seem that there are more serious injuries caused by bicycles trying to follow this law, and possibly even more deaths and injuries if the law was enforced more, then there would be if we allowed bicycles to ride on the sidewalks.

I ride a bicycle maybe twice a year, but I am not for the enforcement of any rule that puts anyone in greater harms way.

I know as a driver, the streets of Singapore can be a dangerous place, but as a cyclist, I'd consider them deadly.

stomponli said...

It's very simple, who ever cause the accident due to carelessness, must be severely punished. The other point is pls enforce road safety by having more TP patrolling so that the number of reckless driving and speeding are reduced.

You can't solve the cyclists safety problem by putting them together with the pedestrian.

See how the law enforcer in HK solve this problem, learn from ppl.

dclh said...

I haven't read your part 3. The phrase "waste of time" led me to say, "Oh yes, it is!" but probably in the opposite way.

Since by nature/evolution/common sense/safety considerations/etc. many cyclists judge that it is safer to ride on walkways, why still need a study?

I agree that it of course increases the danger for pedestrians, but I believe that can be managed. The SAF is expert in risk management, if anyone want to learn more :)

Furthermore, cyclists don't want anyone be hurt, even the minority reckless cyclists don't, but being reckless, they will.

Thus, the focus point should be recklessness.

stomponli said...

I beg to differ dclh. You mentioned it's a walkway, so it's for walking not cycling. If there is a need for cycling, have a separate cycling path. Share it with the trees or grass besides the footpath.

Sad to say, there are more reckless cyclists so you are right that the focal point should be on them. Until they are no longer reckless, than they should be allow to use the footpath, else what's the purpose of Rule 28 of RTR.

So far how many cyclists on the footpath obey those rules set up by that 3 parties for Tampines? Tell you - 99% don't follow!

dclh said...

Yes, focus on the common target, recklessness behavior, be it driving, cycling, or even walking.

Indeed, I consider cycling on walkway is not suitable as it is not built for wheels, but for legs. However, practically, I think there is a need for cycling, and while a separate cycling path is not yet or will never be possible (according to what LTA is saying), although cycling on walkway is not appropriate and ideal, it is an option that could be made more feasible and safer.

Thus, I don't call for banning cyclists on walkways, which doesn't solve any of the issues, but to work on the minimizing recklessness and similar issues to make it safe and acceptable.

stomponli said...

Let's face it - the footpath for pedestrian is already not wide enough for pedestrian in most places even in Tampines itself. How are we going to allow cyclists on it? BTW we also have those motorbikes parking and riding on it too!

Instead of solving the problem, why the authority is adding more problems to the footpath and making the pedestrian suffer?

If the government said that Singapore is an aging population and the authority are building more barrier free access - end of the day, all these barrier free access are being used by cyclists and motorcyclists instead of the elders.

Note that those elders, physically handicapped ppl and youngster may not be agile enough to avoid those reckless cyclists.

BTW there are more reckless cyclists and cyclists that don't give way to pedestrians on footpath - but I've never seen anyone law enforcer booking them. Even if there is - it's only for $20 fine which is not enough to deter them from committing it.

Enough said, when are of us grown old and have problem walking - we will realise that it's a mistake to put them on the footpath.

Back2Nature said...

Wow.. it has been 7+ years! Tampines trial became real while AMK and some/all other HDB towns are coming on board soon/eventually.
PS: stumbled on to this post while search for the Rule 28 of RTR.