The Covid-19 pandemic has certainly got more Singaporeans into cycling. Now that everyone has more time to spare while working from home (WFH), a foldable bike becomes an obvious choice for a leisure activity. It is convenient to keep at home, for daily commutes and PCN riding. A foldable bike folds and unfolds within seconds. It takes up a small footprint at home and in the office and allows you to take the public transport.
There has been an exponential increase in bicycle sales in Singapore during the pandemic. More people have taken up cycling either as a leisure hobby or for daily bike commuting. To encourage more Singaporeans to adopt an active lifestyle, there are 10-year plans of expanding our Park Connector Network (PCN) which now covers about 440 kilometres in 2020.
World’s densest cycling network
Map of the North Eastern Riverine Loop PCN surrounding Punggol.
Punggol will have an extensive 50 kilometres cycling network when the town is fully completed. When this happens, Punggol can potentially become the world’s densest cycling network with 5.2 kilometres of cycling network per one square kilometre of town area. Currently, Helsinki, the capital of Finland, is the place with the densest cycling network, with a 4.7 kilometres cycling network per one square kilometre of town area.
The Punggol cycling network is not only one of the longest routes in Singapore, it also has dual bicycle racks installed at blocks for easier storage of bicycles. Punggol is already many’s favourite cycling spot. From Waterway Point, passing by Punggol Settlement and Sengkang Riverside Park, cyclists who are familiar with this route are about to celebrate with the extension of this cycling network. With these perks, it will allow more access for residents to pick up an active lifestyle.
Car-free town centre
Tengah Park District, which was launched recently, is touted as Singapore’s first “car-free” town centre. It is located in between Boon Lay and Choa Chu Kang. For residents to walk and cycle safely, roads will be built underneath ground level. This new town centre will include amenities a typical neighbourhood will have, such as an MRT station, polyclinic, sports community centre, retail spaces, eateries, tuition and childcare centres.
This neighbourhood being “car-free” will also encourage residents to adopt a healthier and an active lifestyle. It will also be safer for regular pedestrians and cyclists. This new Tengah Park District is a major step forward in turning our country to be a bike-friendly country. More Singaporeans are expected to take up cycling for leisure and daily commutes with the expansion of the network.
Increase in cycling activities
As we are in the middle of a pandemic, there are significantly more cyclists on the road compared to before. More people have started to pick up cycling. It is one of the activities where you do not have to wear a mask. In a lockdown, cycling is what that gets them out of the house.
Now, people who work from home have more time to manage their own day. It is easier to find time to cycle. Furthermore, there are people who would prefer to avoid public transport during peak hours. There are undeniably more people who have picked up cycling as an interest or main mode of transport. And yet, cyclists continue to face the issue of sharing footpaths with pedestrians and cycling safety on the road.
For Singapore to truly become a bike-friendly country, it is important for both cyclists and pedestrians to cultivate gracious behaviour on the road and on the PCN. There are instances where cars are oblivious to the presence of cyclists or when the cyclists feel intimidated while cycling on the road. Some pedestrians may not be aware of the different painted lanes on the pavement. Hence, causing some chaos on the path while walking alongside the cyclist.
Singapore’s cycling infrastructure
The infrastructure is what the government has been working on for years already. 700 kilometres of cycling paths including park connectors will be built by 2030. With the increase in the number of cyclists on the road as well as the extension of the PCN, it is important that pedestrians learn to live harmoniously with cyclists, joggers and PMD riders in park connectors. After all, the government has been expanding the network as there is a higher demand for cycling activities recently.
The efforts of pushing for car-lite Singapore are slowly coming true with the many active PCN expansion projects. Apart from the extension of the network, bicycle wheeling ramps have been built along staircases. More bicycle parking facilities have been made available at MRT stations over the past few years. With the measures put in by the government, the next generation of cycling infrastructure is promising.
That is what we can expect in the near future. More people will be encouraged to take up cycling as a daily commute. In 10 years’ time, Singapore will achieve the vision of the National Cycling Plan. Which is to create a cyclist-friendly, well-connected network providing safe and healthy cycling for all.