Getting around Singapore on your bicycle? Make sure to keep safe and follow the rules!
How do we go about riding our bicycle safely and smoothly in Singapore? There have been growing conversations about cyclist safety and bicycle rules as more take to the pavements, park connectors and roads. As users of common paths and roads, remember that we all have the responsibility to keep ourselves and others safe!
With a little forward preparation and appropriate gear, we can all be considerate road users. Keep in mind these rules and tips to make your next bike ride a safe and smooth one!
Here are some tips to cycling safely in Singapore:
1. Understand your bicycle
Your bicycle can be a great companion to take out for some fun, relaxation or exercise. But before you set out, it’s vital for you to know the condition and state of your bike!
Check that all the gears and parts are working. Due to wear and tear, some parts and components may be worn out and rust may start to form. It’s important to regularly maintain your bike to keep it in tip-top condition. Perhaps the most important part to check is your brakes. Tip: Try engaging both the front and rear brakes a few times before you set off to make sure they are in good working condition.
The seat height, handle bar distance and even wheel sizes also play a part in determining how smooth your ride will be. When buying a bicycle, make sure to choose one that is the right fit for you. Many bike retailers offer in-store consultations and bike fits. Consult a professional when you are in doubt.
2. Know where you can ride
Next, know where you can ride and observe the speed limits. You may face penalties if you are caught speeding or riding your device on the wrong path or road. Cycling paths and Park Connector Networks (PCNs) – which can be easily identified by the markings on the ground – are great places to start. Be sure to keep to the cycling paths as PCNs are commonly shared between runners, cyclists and other pedestrians. The speed limits here are 25km/h and can be used by cyclists, *PMDs (Personal Mobility Devices) and PABs (Power-Assisted Bicycles).
*According to the Land Transport Authority (LTA), please note that only approved PMD models are allowed on cycling paths. Please refer to the guidelines here for more information.
In comparison, footpaths and pavements do not have any “Cyclist” or “Park Connector” logos. On these footpaths, the speed limit for cyclists is 10km/h. PMDs and PABs are not allowed on these paths. Lastly, bicycles and PABs are allowed on roads (except for expressways and tunnels), and are subject to the respective speed limits of the road. Under the Road Traffic Act, it is mandatory for cyclists and PAB riders to wear a helmet when riding on roads.
3. Keep your eyes on the road or path
Now you know where you can ride, make sure you keep safe when cycling down on these paths and roads! Always keep your eyes peeled on the road in front. Like driving, never use your mobile phones when riding. Come to a stop at the side if you need to use your phone for directions.
Sometimes, a pretty view catches our eye. What is a good ride without some of these good views? While we encourage cyclists to enjoy the journey, it’s good to do so responsibly. Stop at the side of the road to fully take in the scenery! Remember to keep your eyes forward and stay alert to your surroundings when cycling.
4. Shine your lights
At night, turn on your bicycle lights. Bike lights and reflectors not only alert other road users to your presence, but also help you navigate obstacles and paths in the dark. Ensure that your fitted lights (or even dynamos) are working before you set off on your night time expedition.
Accessories like these can be easily purchased at various bicycle and sporting goods shops islandwide. Many bike lights come in the form of USB-rechargeable lights, while some are battery operated. Nevertheless, ensure they are bright enough.
5. Bring some ride essentials
Remember to bring these before you go:
- Water! Stay hydrated throughout your ride and store your bottles in mountable bottle holders
- A lightweight and versatile multitool for some quick fixes when needed
- A pump or CO2 cartridge
- Some money, your ID and your phone
6. Lock it up
Remember to take a bike lock along with you on your journey. When you make a pit stop to the toilet or a convenient store, lock your bicycle securely for added ease and assurance. While the country is relatively safe, a little more protection wouldn’t hurt! Besides many of these locks can be easily mounted and hung on your bicycle.
7. Equip your bike
Besides bike lights, reflectors and working brakes, other accessories and equipment contribute to a smooth and safe ride too. Firstly, a bell helps you signal other road users of your presence. Use it when you have to alert others around you.
Secondly, fenders help keep you clean. This is especially handy after the rain or when on muddy grounds. The fenders (or rear/mud guards) that attach near your front and rear wheels will keep the water and mud off your backs (pun intended).
Thirdly, a good basket allows you store items you may need in your ride. They also free up your hands and bodies from your belongings, allowing you safely focus on your ride.
Lastly, a kickstand allows you to leave your bike standing when there is nothing around you to support it. It’ll be very useful if you wish to make multiple stops along the way.
8. Remember to share!
Last but not the least, remember that roads and pavements are shared spaces. While many of us would love to ride freely and feel the wind brushing up against our hair, do keep an eye out for other road users and slow down when necessary. Observe the respective speed limits and dismount from your bike when needed.
More information can be found on the Land Transport Authority’s (LTA) website here.
By Derrick Tan, June 2021
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