Since COVID-19 struck, cycling has become a popular means of transport and exercise. If you’re thinking of following the trend, here are the rules you need to follow to keep safe and on the right side of the law.
According to The Straits Times, an average of 560 serious accidents involving cyclists on roads have been recorded yearly in the past five years, while the average number of serious accidents on park connectors and cycling paths stands at about 90.
Aimed at improving safety over the use of bicycles and electric bicycles, the government has implemented several rules in the past few years. The latest set of rules kicked in on 1 January this year, and here are some things to note.
Cyclists caught flouting traffic rules will have to pay a $150 fine, double from $75 previously. Cycling groups are now also capped at five people in a single file on public roads, and they must keep to the left wherever possible. For roads where riding abreast is permitted — typically, these roads have two or more lanes — the group size can go up to a maximum of 10 riders. When cycling, groups should maintain a minimum distance of 30m, or the distance between two lamp posts, apart from each other. Motorists should give an allowance of, at minimum, 1.5m when passing cyclists, just as with another vehicle.
Riders on power-assisted bicycles (PAB) and e-scooters will have to pass a theory test on Singapore Polytechnic’s Professional & Adult Continuing Education Academy (PACE)’s website before they are deemed qualified to ride on cycling paths and roads (applicable to PABs only). Riders of e-bikes and e-scooters are now required to show their digital certificate when requested by enforcement officers. E-scooter and e-bike riders who use their devices on public paths without passing the test can be fined up to $2,000 and/or jailed for six months for the first offence.
Below are more rules and pointers cyclists should take note of to observe bicycle safety and stay within the law.
WHERE YOU CAN RIDE
Pedal bicycles are allowed on footpaths, typically paths beside roads and within HDB estates, and on paths marked with ‘cyclist’ or ‘PCN’ logos. They can also be ridden on the roads, except for expressways and road tunnels.
PABs are not allowed on footpaths. They are allowed on cycling paths and on the road (except for expressways and road tunnels). It is an offence to ride a device on a public path or road from which it is prohibited. If caught, you may incur penalties, such as fines up to $2,000 and jailtime of up to three months.
RULES FOR CYCLISTS AND PAB RIDERS ON ROADS
- Protect your head from injury by wearing a helmet when cycling on roads
- Always ride as close as is practical to the far-left edge of roads, and allow traffic to overtake you safely
- When cycling in a group, move in a single file on single-lane roads and during bus lane operational hours
- Switch on front white and rear red lights in the dark
- Always use bicycle lanes when available, and do not use any other part of the roadway
- Keep to a maximum length of 5 bicycles when riding in groups, which means a maximum of 5 cyclists if riding in a single file, or 10 cyclists if riding two abreast
- Don’t use your mobile phone while in motion
- Don’t cycle on expressways, road tunnels and selected viaducts
GUIDELINES FOR CYCLISTS AND PAB RIDERS ON ROADS
- Keep a straight course, do not weave through traffic, and avoid sudden swerves
- Keep a safe distance behind moving vehicles; do not hold on to the back or side of motor vehicles, and maintain awareness of traffic when riding
- Do not squeeze between the kerb and a bus that has stopped at a bus stop, or between a turning vehicle and a kerb
- Slow down and look out for other road users when approaching bends, junctions, bus stops, and pedestrian crossings, or when passing a parked car; beware of heavy vehicle blind spots
- If an uphill road is too steep, get off and walk with the bicycle; keep your cycling speed under control when riding downhill
- Wear brightly coloured clothing to increase your visibility to other vehicles and pedestrians
- Plan ahead and pick the safest route, and keep out of heavy traffic as much as possible
- Do not carry anything in your arms that may interfere with the proper control of your bicycle
- Get the correct bicycle seat height to have full control of the vehicle
- Keep both hands on the handlebars; when signalling your intention to change course or make a turn, do so well in advance and return your hand to the handlebars before you turn