A Whole New Two-Wheel Generation

If there’s one evolving trend which didn’t need so much push to get Singaporeans and others on board, it is the use of various mobility devices and e-bikes to get in and around our city state.

Like ducks to water, young and old alike they can be seen, some a bit awkwardly and others dexterously, zipping from one destination to another, often with a gleeful look on their faces. It is indeed gratifying to see white-haired uncles and aunties who have mobility issues being able to move around on their own. Equally delightful is the sight of young kids on their kick-scooters and adults getting about their lives with a breeze.

We used to see skateboards and roller-bladers, but increasingly the younger people are moving on to more zippy two-wheelers.

Bicycles, including the power-assisted ones, have also been making a stronger presence in the past five years. They are expected to latch on to the great mobility movement especially with the push for a car-lite city. On any day, just go around our Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC and you can spot residents happily getting about on their devices, be it on a trip to the hawker centre, the shopping mall or even to the library or community centre.

There is now a gradual paradigm shift and you see working adults riding e-bikes and other mobility scooters around the Central Business Districts and other office areas. Even the SMRT trains started a trial to allow passengers with foldable bicycles and personal mobility devices (PMD) on buses and trains at all hours, instead of just off-peak hours.

However, as with all things that move with wheels, there’s a need to exercise responsibility, with the safety of the riders and the other road users in mind. This is especially for the e-bikes and PMDs when they are riding along the pathways, pedestrian walkways and void decks, and at road crossings too.

When you take into account that these devices can go at speeds of between 10 and 25kmh, an accident can cause serious injury. So, let us continue to enjoy our new found “toy” but do give consideration to others too. We don’t have to wait till fatal accidents take place before we sit up and awake ourselves. Surely, we do not need to let the LTA enforcement officers issue summons before we smarten up our riding.

Here are some simple guidelines to follow:

-Check your vehicles to make sure the brakes and lights are working before you start your journey;
-Be attentive of your surroundings and look out for pedestrians and others;
-Take note that electric bikes are allowed on roads, and cycling or shared paths, but NOT on footpaths under the Land Transport Authority (LTA) rules;
-Never use your handphones when you are riding (stop by the side where you are visible if you must use your handphone);
-Don’t weave in and out of pedestrians expecting others to look out for you;
-Cyclists must be mindful of the road safety rules when travelling on the road.

Many of our residents may have travelled to Europe, l.e. France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden or even to Australia or Japan. You may observe how the cycling is done in such an enjoyable and relaxed atmosphere. Young men and women going about their lives exercising good road courtesy, and of course there are many places where special lots are provided for them to alight and park.

– This article first appeared in a Town Council newsletter.
Picture from Pixabay

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