TRUTH: Why LTA’s 10 kmh rule for bicycles is fucking stupid

I would like to know how many people in LTA actually cycle to work

By now you’d have already heard of Singapore’s plan to limit the speed of bicycles and PMDs on footpaths to 10 kmh, amongst others. The move was widely panned online, despite it coming from a bunch of ‘experts’.

The Panel is chaired by Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, Parliamentary Secretary for Education, Social and Family Development, and compromises 14 representatives from key stakeholder groups such as seniors, youths, grassroots leaders, cyclists, and personal mobility devices (PMDs) users (Please see ANNEX A for the list of members). It conducted a nation-wide public consultation exercise to gather feedback and suggestions.

As a cyclist, I can tell you the rule doesn’t make sense. And I have absolutely no intention of going at 10kmh on a footpath. Simply because:

10kmh doesn’t do much for my health and fitness…and the fight against diabetes

A huge plus about cycling to work is the calories I burn. With all the snacks I consume at work (stress eating, it’s a thing), it’s easy to put on weight.

Biking 18km back and forth daily helps keep my weight in check. It’s free cardio instead of an expensive gym. And it wards off Type 1 diabetes. Which according to the Prime Minister, is a serious problem.

Don’t take it from me, listen to Lee Hsien Loong himself

Here’s the thing: Cycling at 10 kmh hardly exerts any strain on the body. The only health benefit I get is soaking up Vitamin D from the sun.

It’s fucking slow, and unfeasible for a bicycle commuter

Google ‘bicycle speeds’ and this thread comes up top. There’s this answer I very much agree with:

At 10 kmh, you’d be going half the speed of an ‘occasional’ cyclist. Granted, this ‘guide’ was for a flat, paved road, not a footpath — but still, it takes some special effort to go at that slow.

My 18 km daily commute to work takes me around an hour, including time waiting at traffic lights. The path takes me through Park Connectors, roads and footpaths — a 40%, 30%, 30% split.

At 10 kmh, 30% of my journey would take 32 minutes to complete. In an extreme scenario, if a novice cyclist terrified of cycling on the road took footpaths all the way to work, that would be a crazy 1 hr 40 minutes.

Factor in times waiting at traffic lights (12 minutes) — and that would be 1 hr 52 minutes.

I don’t think anybody wants to take the almost 2 hours to get to work.

Cycling on the road would be faster, but… that brings me to my next point.

The move was made without giving extra protection to cyclists on the road

With all this talk about protecting pedestrians, the panel seemed to forget that cyclists matter too. The 10 kmh rule will undoubtedly make cyclists consider riding on the road, but of course, nothing was done to make riding on roads safer.

There is still no local law that tells drivers they have to share the road and overtake cyclists safely.

There are still no special enforcement efforts on the Traffic Police’s part to help cyclists. In the UK, they have Operation Close Pass, where..

Plain clothes police officers with helmet cameras will cycle in traffic and are able to use the video evidence to either educate drivers at the side of the road or, where appropriate, prosecute repeat offenders or those deemed to be dangerous drivers.

Again, this brings me to my next point.

Enforcement efforts are poorly thought out and reactive simply in response to populist anti-PMD sentiment

In one word, it’s damn wayang. Who’s gonna enforce this silly 10 kmh speed limit islandwide? If anything, more effort should be put into making roads safer for cyclists, and footpaths wider for pedestrians.

Read the above point.

15 kmh on footpaths is a reasonable speed for bicycles — and cyclists and PMD users should LEARN to give way

IMO, 15 kmh might not be the fastest, but it does get the job done when it comes to commuting.

Lowering the speed to 10km isn’t the answer to safer footpaths.

It’s punishing responsible cyclists and PMD users who give way to pedestrians and making alternative forms of transportation unfeasible in Singapore.

What the LTA needs to do, is …

  • Operation Close Pass, as mentioned above
  • A whole other bunch of recommendations I wrote here
  • Widen the footpaths instead of …making them narrower (see below)
I thought they were widening this footpath, but all they were doing was planting a thin strip of bushes that made the path even narrower. SMH.

And yeah, don’t just talk meaninglessly about a car-lite society.

Make it happen.