Looking to Start Cycling? Here Are 3 Things You Must Know
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Riding a bike can be a healthy and affordable alternative commute. Not only is it easier to get your recommended dose of exercise, but it’s also better for the planet and costs substantially less than using a car. Cycling’s allure in Singapore hasn’t fallen on deaf ears either. In fact, Singapore’s bike share companies have expanded their fleets and bicycle sales increased as more people opted for cycling even during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. But just as with any means of transportation, you’ll need to know a few important rules. Read on to find out what you must know before you start cycling in Singapore.
Cycling Comes with Road Rules
Just as you have to follow the rules of the road when driving a car, so too do you have to mind the rules designated for cyclists. There are 8 rules and 11 guidelines for cycling according to the Land Transport Authority. Some are obvious, like making sure you always ride in the direction of traffic and avoid using mobile phones. Other rules rely on your ability to be conscientious, like slowing down and looking out for other road users when approaching bends, junctions, bus stops and pedestrian crossings, and walking your bike on busy paths. Other rules and guidelines you should keep in mind are to cycle in a single file if you are on a single lane road and during bus lane operational hours and to use front white or red rear lights at nighttime. Lastly, you have to stick to speed limits. This means 10km/hour on footpaths and 25km/hour on cycling paths and park connnectors.
There are also things you are not allowed to do as a cyclist. One of the most important rules is that you are not allowed to ride your bike through expressways and road tunnels. You are also not allowed to park in spaces that are not designated for bicycles. Appropriate parking spaces are designated as bicycle racks and yellow boxes. Lastly, you can’t be under the influence when riding your bicycle and you are not allowed to use your mobile device.
You Will Need to Invest In the Right Gear
To be safe on the road in Singapore, you’ll need to have the right accessories and clothing. First and foremost, you must wear a helmet if you are riding on the road. While you may feel like helmets are cumbersome or unnecessary, they actually reduce the risk of head and severe brain injury by 63–88%. You will also need to invest in a lock to secure your bike to a bicycle bay. While super high quality, name brand bike gear can be pricey, with some helmets and locks costing hundreds of dollars, you can find cheaper options suited for the everyday cyclist at e-commerce sites like Lazada.
When it comes to your clothing, there isn’t a recommended attire type of attire. However, the LTA recommends wearing bright clothing so motorists and pedestrians are able to see you clearly. Other useful gear includes a bike pump or tire repair kit for emergencies and bike water bottle cage and a basket for comfort on longer rides and errands. You will also need to get maintenance tools like brake cleaners and chain lubricants to ensure your bicycle is safe to ride at all times.
You Don’t Have to Own a Bicycle to Start Cycling
Just like with car sharing, there are plenty of bike-sharing companies you can use before you decide whether you want to invest in your own bicycle. The largest bike sharing company is currently SG Bike, along with Anywheel, GBikes, Mobike and Moov. These companies typically charge a set fee of S$1-S$3 for the first 20 minutes to half hour and then a subsequent fee for the rest of the time you use the bike. If you will be using a bicycle frequently, then you can also do a subscription plan where you pay a monthly fee and unlock multiple uses of the bicycle. Overall, a 30-minute commute may cost you an average of S$55 per month if you choose to use a bike-share service.
As with any subscription, you should be sure to read the policy conditions before signing up for a pass so you are aware of how you’ll be charged and when. You should also be aware that you may have to pay a S$5 fee for not parking in the designated parking spots and repeat offenses may bar you from using their services.
What Happens If I Get Into An Accident?
Accidents happen even to the safest riders. In the unfortunate event of an accident, you must call the police. If you are injured but well enough to move or crawl, you should try to get to a safer spot on the kerb. You will also need to take photos of your injuries and damage to your bike and exchange particulars with the third party. If your bike was severely damaged, you may have some respite if you have a personal accident policy that covers damage to PMDs. Personal accident policies may also cover some of your medical care if your health insurance leaves you with out-of-pocket costs. Lastly, you’ll need to fill out a traffic accident report.
All this being said, it is best to take precautions to avoid accidents in the first place. This means properly yielding, stopping completely at red lights and stop signs and paying attention when you’re passing others. Practicing the same safety precautions as you would if you were a pedestrian or driver will help make the roads safer and more pleasant for everyone.