Singapore will no longer be able to see any brakeless bicycles on public paths and roads in the future, said the Ministry of Transport (MOT) on Monday (25 January).
This was included in the recommendations presented in the Active Mobility Advisory Panel’s fourth review, which the Government has accepted, MOT noted in a press release.
The review, which was submitted to the Government on 30 December last year, was “to promote safe use of active mobility devices”.
“While path safety has improved, it is timely for the panel to continue to monitor the landscape and make forward-looking recommendations,” MOT stated.
It added, “The panel also plays an important role in engaging the public, and promoting awareness and civic responsibility among all path users.”
Based on the review, the panel recommended to make it compulsory for all bicycles to have brakes installed when being used on public path and roads. This is suggested following safety concerns that arise on the use of brakeless bicycles.
“This was welcomed by the active mobility community, retailers and pedestrians. We will work closely with the panel to implement it,” said the Ministry, adding that more details will be made available in due course.
The recommended rule will primarily be applied to fixed-gear bicycles, also known as fixies, as well as bicycle motocross (BMX) bicycles used in cycling sports. The advisory noted that this basically includes the majority of specialised bicycles that have one handbrake or no brakes at all.
Under the newly-proposed rule, such bicycles must have at least one handbrake installed when being used on paths and roads. However, sport bicycles will still be permitted to be used without brakes, but it has to be in controlled environments like pump tracks and skate parks, the panel noted.
Covered by third-party liability insurance
Separately, the panel also pointed out on the need to look at the effectiveness of the requirement since December 2020 for active mobility device users who ride devices for businesses or commercial reasons to be covered by third-party liability insurance.
It went on to note that authorities should get the insurance industry to have more accessible and affordable third-party liability insurance for non-commercial users.
“We agree with the panel’s assessment and will work closely with them as they continue to study the issue,” said MOT.
Commenting on MOT’s decision, panel member and Minister of State for Home Affairs and National Development Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim said that it is “a good move which improves the status quo”.
“Although most bicycles sold come with two handbrakes, it is timely to take this regulatory step as there has been more interest in bicycles without handbrakes lately,” he wrote in a Facebook post on Monday.
“I am especially encouraged that many cyclists, pedestrians and retailers voiced their support for this move and agreed that it will be safer for all path and road users.”
As for the third-party liability insurance issue, Assoc Prof Faishal said that the panel will need to study more on the idea of making it compulsory for all non-commercial riders.
“Such a regulation will impact many Singaporeans like the elderly, families and children who ride for leisure. It is an important and intricate issue, and we need to look at the trade-offs carefully, without losing ground on our push for active mobility,” he explained.
He added, “If you ride for leisure, do consider purchasing insurance for peace of mind, for yourself and your family.”