SINGAPORE, Oct 21 — From Jan 1 next year, the fine for errant cyclists will be doubled to S$150, the Ministry of Transport (MOT) said yesterday.
These fines will be meted out to cyclists who commit offences such as not stopping at red lights at traffic junctions or riding on expressways.
On top of the existing offences, there cannot be more than five cyclists riding in a single file, or more than 10 if they are riding side by side from Jan 1. Cyclists caught flouting this new rule, which was recommended by an advisory panel and accepted by MOT, will also be penalised.
Senior Minister of State for Transport Chee Hong Tat said the ministry is increasing the fine “to send a strong and clear signal” to road users to treat road safety seriously and comply with the safety rules. MOT will work with the Land Transport Authority and the Traffic Police to carry out targeted enforcement.
Since the beginning of this year, the authorities have taken action against more than 500 offenders.
Under current laws, cyclists may also be charged in court for more serious offences where they cause harm. For the first offence, they could face a fine of up to S$1,000 or a jail term of up to three months for the first offence, or both. For the second or subsequent offence, they could be fined up to S$2,000 or jailed for up to six months, or both.
Limiting cycling groups to a maximum length of five bicycles, which is approximately the length of a bus, is among the recommendations made by an advisory panel reviewing the rules for active mobility devices such as bicycles.
MOT announced yesterday that it would accept the panel’s recommendations, which was submitted to the authorities on Oct 1.
The panel noted that while most motorists and cyclists are law-abiding, there is a small group who endangers the safety of others.
The other recommendations accepted by the Government, which would also take effect from Jan 1 next year, are:
Groups of cyclists to keep a safe distance of around two lamp posts (or about 30m) between groups
Motorists to have a minimum distance of 1.5m when passing cyclists on the road
MOT said that these are not requirements for strict compliance in all situations. Instead, they serve as useful guidelines, which should be followed where possible to enhance road safety.
The ministry also agrees with the panel’s recommendation that all cyclists should be strongly encouraged to purchase third-party liability insurance to protect themselves.
Meanwhile, the Government has also accepted recommendations from the panel to continue allowing cyclists to ride two abreast on roads with two or more lanes, and requiring cyclists to ride in a single file on single-lane roads and in bus lanes during bus lane operating hours.
The panel felt that there was no need to license cyclists or register their bicycles.
Agreeing, MOT pointed out that there is “little evidence from overseas case studies and Singapore’s past experience that licensing of cyclists is effective in promoting road safety or deterring errant cyclists”. A licensing requirement would also affect “the majority of law-abiding cyclists”, the ministry added.
On whether these changes go far enough in ensuring cyclists adhere to road safety, Mr Chee said the reduction of cycling group sizes already addresses a key pain point for motorists, who gave feedback to the advisory panel that large cycling groups of more than 10 tend to take up a lot of space on the road.
“If you restrict to five bicycles, it is approximately the length of a bus. You treat the group of cyclists, the five, when they are on the road as a slow-moving vehicle, equivalent to about the length of a bus,” he said.
Adding more rules will make it more difficult and complex for cyclists to comply, he reiterated. — TODAY