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Allow bicycles, personal mobility devices on footpaths: advisory panel

On 17 March, The Active Mobility Advisory Panel has recommended that bicycles and personal mobility devices (PMDs), except electric bicycles, be allowed on footpaths used by pedestrians.

The Advisory Panel consists of fourteen representatives from various groups of road users such as seniors, youths, grassroots, cyclists and motorists. It is headed by Nee Soon GRC Member of Parliament (MP) Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, who, together with the panel, submitted a new proposed set of rules and guidelines to the Ministry of Transport after eight months of work on the guidelines.

The panel categorised its recommendations into three broad areas: rules and a code of conduct for users; the types of devices to be allowed on footpaths, cycling paths and shared paths; and the criteria for devices that are allowed in public spaces.

The code of conduct suggested that PMD users must give way to pedestrians on footpaths and shared paths, must ride at a speed that is not too fast compared to others sharing the path, and must be prepared to stop and dismount at areas with high pedestrian traffic. At pedestrian crossings, they have to stop and look out for oncoming traffic. Additionally, all PMDs are to be equipped with a white light in front and red light at the back, which must be switched on at night.

The panel has also categorised the types of devices to be allowed on footpaths, cycling paths and shared paths.

Additionally, riders were advised to keep to a speed limit of 15kmh when on pavements and 25kmh when on shared paths. It was also suggested that the weight of each device should not exceed 20kg, and that all electric bicycles should be registered with the authorities. These moves aim to prevent any illegal modifications to bicycles as well as to ensure a safe environment for both pedestrians and other PMD riders who share paths.

Head of the panel, Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim stated that, "Many of the respondents shared that they don't mind sharing paths with cyclists and personal mobility device users at this point in time, but what they would like is that the rules and code of conduct be followed by all these users. So as such, the panel has developed a set of rules and code of conduct, in our view which are practical, fair, clear and most importantly to have safeguards for all users.”

Currently, cycling is legal only on footpaths in Tampines town. The Ministry of Transport has yet to respond to the guidelines, stating that they will be reviewed and that approval may be made in due course.