Experts: Yes, make Safe Riding Programme a must

Safety course for bicycles and PMDs to be rolled out in July.

Should it be compulsory for students?

Cyclists and personal mobility devices (PMD) users will soon get a free lesson on riding safely.

From July, a 90-minute Safe Riding Programme (SRP) will be made available at selected community centres, schools and migrant worker dormitories.

Since May last year, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) has been working with the Singapore Road Safety Council to conduct pilot sessions with close to 100 people, including migrant workers and other members of the public to refine and update the SRP.

Given the Government's push towards a car-lite society, should the SRP be made compulsory for students?

Yes, said experts approached by The New Paper.

Mr Steven Lim, president of Safe Cycling Task Force, said: "Singapore is trying to push cycling and PMDs as a first and last mile solution.

"Beyond building infrastructure for this new lifestyle, education should also be enhanced in tandem.

"For example, students in the Netherlands have to go through bicycle training and are required to (take) a test."

Mr Lim, who is also vice-president for safety and education at the Singapore Cycling Federation, suggested that the SRP could be conducted when upper primary pupils visit the Road Safety Community Park, and when Secondary 3 students go through the Outward Bound Singapore camp.

He added: "Just like how all pupils are required to learn swimming, learning the basics of cycling or a kick-scooter can also save lives."

Tanjong Pagar GRC MP Melvin Yong, who is a member of the Government Parliamentary Committee for transport, also thinks good riding practices should be taught in schools.

He said: "To build a car-lite society, it is important we start cycling education from a young age.

"It would be useful if learning how to cycle safely can be incorporated into the school curriculum. Our children can also pick up a life skill in the process."

While Mr Denis Koh, who represents PMD users in LTA's Active Mobility Advisory Panel, thinks it will be "highly beneficial" to introduce the programme to students, he emphasised that the SRP is meant for anyone on wheels.

Mr Koh, who is also the chairman of e-scooter enthusiast group Big Wheel Scooters Singapore, said: "Most importantly, the programme reflects not only safety but awareness.

"Awareness puts forward social empathy, defensive riding (to anticipate the unexpected) and socially responsible riding etiquette."

Ride safe with pro tips in July

From July, a 90-minute Safe Riding Programme (SRP) will be made available at selected community centres, schools and migrant worker dormitories.

To encourage interest and participation, the SRP will be fully subsidised for a while.

Besides safe riding practices and rules of conduct, participants will also learn about maintenance and servicing of equipment, and how to conduct pre-ride checks and plan routes.

In addition, riders and cyclists will be taught about the types of paths and the difference between off-road and on-road cycling.

They will also be trained on basic device handling methods and hand signals for cyclists.

Participants will be taught how to manoeuvre their bicycles, personal mobility devices or power-assisted bicycles safely, and react to various situations when riding on public paths.

Mr Steven Lim, president of the Safe Cycling Task Force, who conducted several pilot sessions of the SRP, urged cyclists to consider joining it.

He said: "Many people think they know how to cycle, but they could have picked up the wrong skills. The course will cover basic but essential fundamental skills, and it will be different learning from a professional."

This article was first published on February 27, 2017.
Get The New Paper for more stories.