Don't exclude hikers from Bukit Timah reserve trail

SINGAPORE - The National Parks Board (NParks) is in the process of upgrading the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve trail surrounding the foot of Bukit Timah Hill.

But it has been announced that once the work is done, the trail will be for the exclusive use of cyclists.

This is a pity because the trail can easily allow both cyclists and hikers to enjoy the scenic path. Currently, both cyclists and hikers use the trail without any problems.

The hikers are mainly people in their 50s and 60s, who probably find climbing up the hill too much of a challenge.

If the trail is closed to them, these health-conscious folk would probably have to stop their hikes.

A large portion of the 5km-long trail is about 2m wide, which can easily accommodate both a cyclist and a hiker at the same time.

If the possibility of collision is a concern, signs may be put up to ask hikers to use one side of the trail, and cyclists to use the other side.

For those portions of the trail that are narrower, parallel paths can easily be built so that hikers can use one path, and cyclists the other.

Alternatively, the use of the trail can be time-managed.

For example, it can be opened to cyclists from, say, 7am to 10am, and to hikers from 10am to 1pm, and then to cyclists again from 1pm to 4pm, and to hikers from 4pm to 7pm.

Having spent so much time, effort and money in upgrading the trail, NParks should aim to increase, not decrease, the number of users.

Ng Eng Juan

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