First on-road bicycle lane in Singapore being built in Sentosa

23rd Dec 2015| NEWS

The very first on-road bicycle lanes in Singapore is being built in the resort island of Sentosa. Experts says this could be a test bed for on-road bicycle lanes in other areas.

The Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC) started its work on the network of bright green bike lanes which will be due by the middle of next year.

It was observed that around 400m of a metre-wide paths have been completed – this was along Allanbrooke Road towards Sentosa Cove and Woolwich Road. Another work is also underway on another stretch of Allanbrooke Road.

Sentosa has already an existing cycling network but it is shared by pedestrians and cyclists.

This new lanes are part of of the efforts to provide added convenience and a better experience for cyclist, an SDC spokesman said, adding that more details will be made available to the public when the network is complete.

This move by SDC, a statutory board under the Ministry and Trade and Industry, is the latest in Singapore’s move in encouraging people to a cycling culture.

Earlier this month, plans were announced to make Ang Mo Kio a model town for cycling and walking by 2018. The 20km cycling network will be used to pilot new concepts and infrastructure like elevated cycling paths and pedestrian priority zones.

On-road bike lanes have been advocated by cycling enthusiasts for some time now, but the Government has said repeatedly that they will focus on building cycling infrastructure off the road which includes a span of around 700km by 2030.

In 2013, then Parliamentary Secretary for Transport Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim said in Parliament that on-road cycling is risky because of Singapore’s heavy traffic. But Sentosa Cove resident Rusti Castillo feels that this new lanes will make cycling a lot safer – given that the roads in Sentosa are used heavily by big tour buses – as the bike lanes will give cyclists their own space. He also hope that this network will eventually linked to the mainland.

“Then people would be able to take their bikes and go out to Vivo-City, where they can go shopping,” said the 48-year-old, who works in the maritime industry.

Co-founder of cycling group Love Cycling SG Francis Chu mentioned that most roads lanes in Singapore are wide enough to accommodate bike lanes, and if lane widths were cut, it would make the roads safer for all users.

“Bike lanes allow cyclists to ride with confidence and the narrower roads will also help motorists drive safer because narrower lanes help moderate speed,” he said.

Transport consultant Gopinath Menon said cyclists are legally supposed to ride on the road but many do not do so out of fear for their safety. This is a “good experiment”, he added.

Sentosa is a popular recreational spot with beaches, hotels and attractions such as Universal Studios. Mr Menon added, “There are some issues to iron out, for example, at bus stops, when buses have to pull in.”

Also, Dr Alexander Erath, a transport researcher at the Singapore-ETH Future Cities Laboratory, said that while the project might seem to have a limited impact with Sentosa’s small user base, it “sends a clear message to the motorist that the road should not only be designed for them, but also for cyclists and pedestrians”.