Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Singapore Bike Boulevards?

On the New York "Streetsblog" blog I came across a posting of a video on Berkeley's Bike Boulevards. See the link below. It is well worth a look.

Berkeley's Bike Boulevards (
Running time: 8 minutes 12 seconds

"Bicycle Boulevards really gives the cyclist the sense of owning the
road and being able to take the lane and being able to be in the
middle of the street where they can avoid the door zone. Cars are

expecting that they're going to have to wait for bikes and that
they're going to be seeing bikes. It's not going to be a
confrontational thing if a cyclist is the middle of the road because
it's expected on these streets."

It made me wonder if there are any opportunities for something like this in some places in Singapore.

Relatively few I guess, since Singapore has few places with grid street layouts and few non-arterial options to cycle on. But there might still be a few places that might one day become Singapore Bike Boulevards. We can always dream.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Bicycle safety low hanging fruit? Lower traffic speeds!

Do you think I am an oddball for cheering traffic speed enforcment as a way to save bicycle user lives?

Then please check out these short road safety videos (Warning: some of them are a bit upsetting - which is why they are powerful)

Keeping traffic speeds down (especially to 50 km/h or even lower in places that have a lot of bicycles and pedestrians) is one of the key "low hanging fruit" of bicycle safety. It would also make the streets safer and less stressful for everyone.

Slightly lower speeds would save lives even if the LTA NEVER decides to do anything else to help cycling and even if we cannot get ANY road safety messages across to any of those badly behaved bicycle users out there.

And it is low hanging fruit because the traffic police are apparently ALREADY quite keen to do better on speed enforcement, as I mentioned before.

Image from Flikr user
GeKow (some rights reserved)

Monday, August 14, 2006

On-line bicycle map service

UPDATE: I recently heard of a new mapping site It looks very promising and already has a few Singapore routes! Check it out and add your own favourite routes - it is easy.

WorldChanging blog highlights a new development in the US.

We're pro-bike here, but we do recognize that there are a myriad of challenges bikers face getting around their cities. One of those challenges is just figuring out the most bike-friendly route between where you are and where you want to be. As every biker knows, the difference between riding on street with bike lanes, sensible traffic calming and good safety measures and a sidewalk-less arterial full of speeding cars and road-raging drivers can be the difference between arriving relaxed and on time, or perhaps not arriving at all.

ByCycle is working to create interactive biking maps for North American cities.

We have talked before about our dreams for better information in Singapore to help us find bicycle-friendly routes (here, here and here).

And more official effort here to increase the number of friendly routes would be nice too!

NParks has been leading the way with the Park Connector program and certain Town Councils (like Pasir Ris and Tampines) have shown some interest.

Biking on the roads in Singapore is not as bad as you might think but we need a lot more bike friendly, traffic calmed streets in between the isolated park connectors. In fact, this may be the only way we will ever be able to link all the park connectors up. Any interest LTA?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Singapore's Bike Boutique gaining attention

On Sunday 30 July an article by Dawn Tan in the Straits Times highlighted the use of bicycles for commuting to work in Singapore. (no link sorry subscribers only)

It was a positive article, with nice profiles of real cycle commuters and their experiences. It also mentioned some of the difficulties, like high-speed traffic.

The article featured an interesting business in the city centre, The Bike Boutique, that offers extra services for bike commuters, like showers, secure parking, etc... or what they like to call "Bike Lodging". The Bike Boutique has also been noticed by Sydney bicycle blog Spinopsys! Take a look!

The Bike Boutique folks have also set up a website to promote bicycle commuting which is worth a look too.

Must get down to check them out and have a chat.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Buses and bikes

Earlier this year, SACA raised two incidents with SBS Transit concerning close shaves by cyclists in quick succession. SBS Transit responded by inviting SACA to a discussion to better understand the issues.

Before that meeting, I met up with Ling and Ai LIn from SACA at a coffee shop in Holland Village. We discussed the fact that serious encounters with bus captains will get reported and be widely discussed in cycling circles. However, positive incidents like this post, "Leeway for cyclists." are not half as exciting and ussually not written or not as well popularised. This imbalance reinforces the idea that bus captains are a threat to cyclists.

Is this actually true across the board?

I doubt that for I have often seen Bus Captains give way to me, slow down, give me wide berth when traffic is light or wave me ahead when pulling out from bus bays to indicate they've spotted me. I have observed many on these incidents through my rear-view mirror.

Admittedly there are Bus Captains, like other motorists, who are unfamiliar with cyclists, and be unable to judge a cyclists speed, or appreciate how it is relatively difficult to brake to avoid a vehicle swerving into our paths. These require education and this can be dealt with in training.

For the minority who are errant, a reporting procedure to deal with this has been established. Thankfully no incidents of this nature have arisen since.

Another issue we discussed was the fact that cyclists are often are a threat to themselves, and thus to other road users. I, for one, feel that a cyclist who intends to ride on our roads amongst traffic should be armed with a rear-view mirror and be familiar with the highway code. Many cyclists are not as well prepared for our traffic-laden roads as they should be.

So SACA put up this SACA-SBS Transit Programme page for starters. By briefing their drivers after receiving this feedback, SBS Transit is improving the situation from their end. And feedback can be incorporated into Bus Captain training in future. And serious incidents will be given their due attention.

Educating cyclists, on the other hand, will be more of a challenge - we lack any organisational structure. While there are ideas about how to improve that, for now, this SACA webpage is a start.

If you have points for the feedback to Bus Captains/motorists or to cyclists, you can leave your comments here to be forwarded to SBS Transit, or email SACA.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Commute by bike

nice story to share about cycling to work...

In late December, the local news began covering the contract dispute between the Metropolitan Transit Authority and the Transit Workers Union, and the possibility of a strike by subway and bus operators. A lot of friends and co-workers were confident that the strike wouldn’t happen, but I wanted to be prepared. On Monday, December 19th, I put on several layers of clothing and some cold weather gear, hopped on my bike, and rode to work. Having proved to myself that I was capable, I concluded that I was prepared for a strike. The next day, the strike was on.

Biking in sub-freezing weather proved easier than I had expected. I anticipated burning wind, icy roads, numb extremities, and other unpleasantries, but learned over a few days of trial and error some of the basic do’s and donts of winter biking, the most important of which was not to overdress, which I did at the start. I also found, somewhat to my surprise, that I enjoyed it. Since you guys at CbB have done a fine job cataloging all the joys of commuting by bike, I won't waste my time listing them. I expect we're all very familiar with them. Suffice it to say that they were new to me.

The transit strike lasted only four days, but it gave me a new resolve. When one transportation option was taken away, I was forced to find another, and the alternative turned out to be the preferable option. So, when the trains started running again, I didn’t get on, and I don't regret it. Commuting by bike has made me stronger, faster, leaner and smarter. It's burned my lungs, strained my knees, torn my rotator cuff, and toughened me up in a hundred little ways. My wife sure likes what it's done to my butt. My co-workers, who at first were impressed and confused, have come to accept it as normal, even to the point of buying bikes and riding to work themselves. Now, having started in the dead of winter, I'm looking forward to the warm weather and sunshine that most cyclists consider "biking season."

I don't think there's anything difficult or special about what I did. Lots of people bike more than 75 miles in a week, and I’m no athlete. Make anything a part of your daily routine and you stop seeing it as a challenge.
I encourage anyone still debating their options to try it out. If it’s not possible, you'll know, but you might surprise yourself.

more story can be found here