Singapore’s Ministry of Transport: Brakes to be made mandatory for all bicycles using public paths, roads

The Active Mobility Advisory Panel had proposed that all fixed-gear bicycles be fitted with at least one handbrake when used on paths and roads. — TODAY pic
The Active Mobility Advisory Panel had proposed that all fixed-gear bicycles be fitted with at least one handbrake when used on paths and roads. — TODAY pic

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SINGAPORE, Jan 25 — All bicycles used on public paths and roads must have brakes installed, the Ministry of Transport (MOT) said today, as it accepted recommendations from the Active Mobility Advisory Panel. More details about the new rule will be announced “in due course”, the ministry said. 

Last month, the panel, which looks into rules governing the use of bicycles, personal mobility devices and other equipment, recommended mandating brakes for all bicycles used on public paths and roads. This was in response to safety concerns arising from the use of bicycles without handbrakes.

MOT said that the active mobility community, retailers and pedestrians had welcomed the recommendation. ”We will work closely with the panel to implement it.” 

In the meantime, the ministry urged users of all active mobility devices — which include bicycles, personal mobility devices and mobility scooters — to continue riding their vehicles safely and looking out for other path users.

The danger of riding bicycles without brakes was thrust into the spotlight early last year, after a 13-year-old girl lost control of her friend’s fixed-gear bicycle at a Pasir Ris multi-storey car park. She was flung off the device, falling six floors to her death. She died at the scene on January 8 last year.

In its report submitted to MOT, the panel proposed that all fixed-gear bicycles be fitted with at least one handbrake when used on paths and roads.

The pedals on a fixed-gear bicycle are directly coupled with the wheels, allowing cyclists to slow or stop the device by resisting the motion of the pedals with their legs. Some cyclists choose to ride these bicycles without handbrakes.

As for off-road BMX (bicycle motocross) bikes used for cycling sports, such as racing and stunt riding, the panel said that they may continue to be used without brakes in controlled environments, including pump tracks and skate parks. 

Nevertheless, they must have at least one handbrake installed when used on paths and roads.

Separately, workers who ride active mobility devices for businesses or for commercial reasons — including food delivery riders — must be covered by third-party liability insurance from last month. This allows victims to file claims for damages, should an accident occur.

The Active Mobility Advisory Panel had emphasised the need to track the effectiveness of this compulsory measure and engage the insurance industry to develop more affordable third-party liability insurance products for non-commercial riders.

MOT said that it agreed with the panel’s assessment and would work closely with the panel as it continues to study the issue. — TODAY

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