Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Singapore roads, is it Safe or Not?

Cycling in Singapore 
I read this article and here from London Cyclist today and it made me think deeply about how can we create a safer road condition for fellow cyclists. While I applaud Steven Lim  Benoit Francis and of course our very own Lovecyclingsg efforts to promote cycling safety but somehow I find that the cycling awareness amongst the cyclists, drivers are still very lacking and not really working so well. And seems like our Traffic authorities are not really looking into the matter. I may be wrong as I am not privy to the brilliant minds and strategic plans by our LTA and Ministry of Transport.
So... I like to state this. Riding in Singapore is diceyThis is complicated by the fact that cyclists should use the road according to the Traffic laws. Some would ask, "R u sure???" yes really! But there are some roads that even I will not try to ride - some really crazy and hairy places.... Farrer road, Geylang, thomson road, China town, Kranji road to name a few.  So what gives? Should we just seek "that drivers respect the cyclists and just let things be". Or can we do it better to make the issue known? How many more cyclists would need to be injured or worst killed before the the situation improves?
I like to share with you what the British cyclists did. They invite all the riders to come visit the 10 most dangerous roads to see for them selves. And in the process document(where are the danger points, what can be improve) the entire ride and bring more awareness to the dangers to cyclists and to the authorities. So that things can move faster and make it safer for cyclists. Bravo!!!
Do you think it can work in Singapore? I am thinking to organise one ride. ...would u ride with me, help me document this ride?
5 most dangerous road in Singapore in my opinion:
1) Farrer r\Road
2) Geylang Road
3) Thomson Road
4) Bukit Timah road
5) China town area
Where else? I really like to know ur opinions and how we can make our place more bike friendly.  Come on folks, please help me, help us, make the cyclist's voices heard!

Update: Diane have very kindly helped to do a google map for us to list down the danger areas for cycling. Team, please help to add ur areas of concern.Thanks ! 


  1. TW, my conspiracy theory is NO matter what we do, the local authority will NEVER take this matter to task, WHY you may ask? MONEY, read ERP, lets say 10% of drivers now decide to ride to work, they would lose too much revenue in ERP gantry earnings.
    We just have to be defensive and hope for the best, yes I may sound like a wet blanket, but the TRUTH is ALWAYS a bitter pill to swallow....
    Any CT, when all the park dis-connectors are up and running, they will BAN cycling on the roads....

  2. Just a warning, this reply is going to be long and rambling...

    As always, we need more AWARENESS on all parties involved -- public transport drivers, private car drivers, cyclists and pedestrians alike, on all possible dangers on the roads and crosswalks.

    As for safety... while everything in Singapore is relatively safer than elsewhere in the world, I also think it is this perceived idea of safety that makes drivers/pedestrians more lax when it comes to being out in the public. Pedestrians don't expect cars to come whizzing past; cars don't expect other forms of traffic to come barreling by, so they don't watch out as often as in other countries that treat the roads as obstacle courses or are cycle-friendly nations.

    Also, there is this notion of "I pay road tax so the road is mine" that I only experience in Singapore. I don't know why but vehicles here have edged me out on the road (sometimes edging me out so much that I'm forced to get off the road and onto the pavement) more often than other countries I've cycled in SEAsia. I can understand it if it's a bus because I cycle on the bus lane, so they can't help it that they're big and bulky and fit the lane width exactly, but I don't understand why cars and taxis do it to, especially if the road has 2 lanes each way anyway.

    Anyway, one way we could focus on this would be to plan our town Tour Du Danger like the Londoners did and ask a minister or some other government official to come ride. No support vehicles, no traffic blockades... just a normal everyday road with everyday traffic conditions.

  3. I'll add Orchard Road.
    Agree there are some very dangerous roads here, I'd usually avoid. I believe most of the dangerous roads can be safer for cyclist by simple measures, e.g. (1) make lanes slightly narrower to make traffic move in a steady but lower speed, rather than the current RUSH-STOP-RUSH manner (2) use the extra space to allow a wider gap between the yellow line and the curb, this can be the safe-heaven for cyclist.
    Having said that, I must point out that Singapore have the best quality roads and the greenest urban environment in the region. Both factors make it very suitable for cycling.

  4. The idea is a good one. but the most important is to get someone wit with the influence to make a change to come along with us. maybe some MP or LTA personnel. we must then back up the change with feasible ideas. I'm sure people here will have very specific and good ideas.

  5. Balestier road on my list of messy as well.

  6. Here's a refinement to the route for Tour Du Danger...Just MO
    Upper Thomson Road (long house, SP) --Lornie Road--Adam Road--Farrer Road--PortsDown--Normanton(EP)...Going back,

    Portsdown--Holland Road--Ulu Pandan Road--Clementi Road--Dunern Road--Bukit timah Road--Adam Road--Lornie Road--Upper Thomson Road (EP)

  7. My danger road list seems to cover half of Singapore, starting from Yishun Ave 2, Lentor Ave, AMK Ave 6, a slight reprieve at Marymount Rd, and then mayhem again along Thomson Rd. Goes to show road cycling is dangerous in SG.

  8. In my opinion, Geylang is dangerous (which I agree) but what contributes greatly to the danger that cyclists face is actually cyclists and pedestrians. You get many cyclists riding in the opposite direction and pedestrians running amok in addition to the cars. Personally I will avoid this stretch as much as I can.

    What we can also do to improve the situation is to educate all cyclists on what is the legal and proper cycling methods.

    As for the Ride, I WHEEL ride with you. :)

    I think it is important for the authorities to understand why we are doing this. There is one more area that we can look into. That will be the learner drivers. If we can start the awareness with them, it will go a long way.


  9. Boo, Very good point about the education for new drivers!

  10. Just would like to point out that this kind of feel-the-danger riding should be carried out on weekdays with typical flow of traffic instead of on weekends with much less traffic.

  11. Thank you for the comments and suggestion. My objective is simple. I want to make cycling safer for cyclists. For a start, we can identify the 5 most dangerous spot. Document more why is it dangerous, using video or photos. Share this with our fellow cyclists so they are all aware of the danger spots. I am hearten to see also that Diane have help to make a e-map for people to collaborate and add the issues. Please keep them coming. I know slowly but surely. The tide will turn. Thank you for your help!

  12. Lynten's comments sound a bit cynical but I agree with him. The safest roads are dedicated bike paths, 2nd safest is marked bike lanes on public roads. That is the approach taken here in Australia. As long as the slow moving cyclists share the roads with fast moving vehicles, the danger is always there. Keep them separated! Francis is advocating for this and I hope to see some results.

    But since that is not always possible in Spore, the next best thing is education of motorists and cyclists. It requires strong political will to achieve this and strong lobbying from interest groups etc is impt.

    Meanwhile for us cyclists, our best defence is max visibility and to cycle defensively. That said, Singapore is not the most dangerous country in the world to cycle la.

  13. The weird thing is that TWO ministers sons have bought bikes from my, abeit they probably do not cycle here or have stopped altogether.
    Singapore may not be the most dangerous place but the COMPASSION is sorely lacking, quite sad that a country needs a kindness week or courtesy campaign.....
    If all of us can SLOW down in life MAYBE things will get better, until then, it will ALWAYS be ME, MYSELF and I first mentality.
    We have to get better at looking from the 'other side' only then things will turn around (for the better).
    As long as the governing body, whoever it maybe, doesn't make it priority, we will just have to bear the consequences. Life is cheap here, but then again, so to the rest of the world.
    Playing devils advocate, if you want to kill someone, don't do it with a knife or any weapon, just get behind a luxury car and knock the person(s) down, with a very good lawyer, no jail time......
    Sorry, but the truth does HURT.

  14. Unless you have dedicated cycling lanes, some risk wil be involved in cycling on the road. And like in most countries, there will be the safer stretches, as well as the more dangerous ones.

    It's a great idea to highlight the more dangerous ones on the googlemap doc.

    We recently started compiling a list of ridearounds that may help riders avoid those dangerous junctions or busy roads.

    Have a read!

  15. My humble thoughts, it is linked to our national mentality of "MUST BE NO 1" hence we tend to rush everywhere... and always in a hurry. Cars are seen as symbols of hardwork achieving success and hence status, an idea indoctrinated into our minds since young, bicycles are for the poor aka those who sadly didnt make the cut.

    Hence this pushes us towards behaviour that are really obnoxious like how we see people pushing into the MRT etc... And seriously I am not suprised cycling will be banned on roads once the PCN are connected as part of a larger master urban plan. Cars on road, bicycle on PCN. Typical of our government's "Forward" thinking and need for order and system.

  16. Install smart detection technology on all vehicles, including bikes, to avoid accidents and collisions.