Cycling’s popularity has exponentially increased in the recent five years to become one of Singapore’s core pastime.
Drivers and runners alike are often greeted with the sights of casual cyclists on their adjacent lane. In fact, it is common to see large groups of cyclists embarking on night cycling adventures pretty much everywhere.
Our population’s obsession with cycling has been induced even more by the introduction of bike-sharing services such as the now defunct Ofo and oBike who withdrew their operations the nation as quickly as it entered, almost like a hit-and-run market disruption strategy.
Cycling shops that have established themselves on the far ends of our island have a fundamental role to play in breeding casual cyclists. For both coastal parks, bicycle rentals are a sure sight, and one that has continued to delight groups of friends and families on the weekends as cycling is the number one activity in these long stretches of land (unless you are a runner of course).
Bike rentals have also induced various adventurers of our nation’s smaller islands to pick up cycling, as it is definitely easier to explore on bikes in places such as Pulau Ubin and Coney Island, with their dirt roads and rocky paths posing a huge strain for the foot adventurer. It is the promise of convenience these bike rentals provide that has attracted so many to return to the aforementioned places to cycle, and discover new sights at the same time.
More recently, with congestion on road and on rails plaguing our city state due to our population size, commuters are often prompted to explore other transport options, especially over short to mid distances.
Over the past few years, with bike-sharing services services going obsolete now with the new regulations in place, the buzz and publicity that bike-sharing has generated has undoubtedly attracted many to pick up cycling on a more consistent basis.
The burgeoning cycling club scene is another factor which has also attracted youths and adults alike to pick up cycling.
From local founded “MBG (My Bike Group)” to the Australia & New Zealand Association (ANZA) riding club, prospective cyclists from all social backgrounds have communities which they can turn to for all things cycling related and more.
All of these recreational cycling clubs are membership free and amongst them are competitive cyclists who can offer expert advice to newcomers who have a deeper passion for the sport. Besides organising daily to weekly morning/night rides, some groups even organise overseas cycling holidays to exotic destinations such as Tibet and Mongolia.
To our government’s credit, emulating the Netherlands has become their targeted priority. The Dutch are world-renowned as a cycling nation.
Astonishingly, no less than one-third of the Dutch cite their most common mode of transport on a typical day to be through casual biking. Much of their culture development is attributed to their government’s commitment in investing on cycling infrastructure, through the establishment of long-distance cycling networks that connect its villages, towns and cities to building of separate bike paths and on-road bike lanes.
Similarly, our very own Land Transport Authority (LTA) has unveiled the blueprints for turning our garden city into one that is cycling-friendly too, pledging to establish 700 km worth of cycling paths across our island by 2030.
Over the next five years, LTA said it would add some 100 km of cycling paths by building new ones and expanding existing networks in towns such as Taman Jurong, Bishan, Toa Payoh and Bukit Panjang.
Under the plan, all HDB towns will have a cycling network, connecting cyclists from MRT stations and bus interchanges to their homes.
Bencoolen street already contains a dedicated cycling path connecting the central area to other parts of Singapore. Besides cycling paths and networks, cycling friendly facilities are also being constructed. Bicycle parking spaces are now a common sight at MRT stations, while Singapore’s first underground bicycle parking system was unveiled in early 2018 in Admiralty.
More and more cyclists can now look forward to easy storage of their bicycles in these weatherproof and safe storage cells.
In 2017’s news report, LTA’s then-director of active mobility Tan Shin Gee had said she hoped that in five to 10 years, 4 to 6 per cent of all trips would be done on bicycles. Currently, the figure is about 1 to 2 per cent.
With the cycling infrastructure and community both set to expand boundlessly within the next few decades, it is hard to see the nation’s craze with two wheelers abiding anytime soon.Leave a comment