SINGAPORE: Plans to triple Singapore’s cycling path network by 2030 could be expedited by a "couple of years" following the e-scooter footpath ban last month.
The authorities are looking at ways to speed up the timeline, and may consider reclaiming roads to make way for more cycling paths, said Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min on Tuesday (Dec 17).
There are currently 440km of cycling paths islandwide. Plans are in place to expand this to 750km by 2025 and about 1,300km by 2030.
By 2030, all HDB towns will have a cycling path network, LTA has said previously.
“LTA together with MOT (Ministry of Transport) is currently looking at the possibility of bringing forward the timeline for the construction of cycling paths within the various towns in Singapore," Dr Lam told reporters at an event to view the active mobility infrastructure in Ang Mo Kio.
"Hopefully we'll be able to bring (the timeline) forward by a couple of years because we have to study the infrastructure, as well as look at even the possibility of reclaiming roads in order to create space for cycling paths and walking paths."
Ang Mo Kio was designated as Singapore's first walking and cycling town in 2014. It currently has a 4km cycling network linking residents to Ang Mo Kio MRT station and bus interchange, and ongoing works are in place to expand the cycling paths to 20km.
On Tuesday, Dr Lam cycled around Ang Mo Kio, accompanied by Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan, fellow Senior Minister of State for Transport Janil Puthucheary and Active Mobility Advisory Panel chairman Faishal Ibrahim.
READ: E-scooter users will have to pass theory test, be at least 16 years old to ride on cycling paths
E-SCOOTER FOOTPATH BAN
One of the reasons for expediting the cycling network timeline is to address connectivity concerns following the e-scooter footpath ban, said Dr Lam.
E-scooters have been banned from footpaths in Singapore since Nov 5, with offenders facing fines of up to S$2,000 and jail time of up to three months once the ban is strictly enforced from 2020.
E-scooters are also banned from roads.
Riders are allowed to use them on cycling paths and park connector networks.
“With the announcement of the ban of e-scooters on footpaths, the connectivity for active mobility users have been affected,” said Dr Lam.
“I think this is a necessary step forward to bring back safety to footpaths, but at the same time we are also looking at increasing the connectivity, and also improving the active mobility infrastructure, so that reasonable connectivity can be realised.”
Since the ban kicked in, there has been a “palpable difference” in terms of pedestrian safety on footpaths, said Dr Lam.
“If you were to talk to many pedestrians right now, many feel that it is much safer for them to use the footpaths,” he added.
"Moving forward, we expect to see more of these PMD riders converting to the use of bicycles as well as e-bicycles. I would like to urge everybody to exercise caution, to exercise graciousness and sharing of paths, because safety is still paramount.
"We want to make sure that we look out for one another, we want to ensure we are able to share the use of footpaths, as well as cycling paths and roads safely."