Saturday 20 June 2015

Road markings on trial in Tampines

Markings aimed at improving safety for cyclists and pedestrians
By Danson Cheong, The Straits Times, 19 Jun 2015

NEW road markings aimed at making road crossings safer for cyclists and pedestrians are being tried out in Tampines.

Markings in the form of large squares and diamonds were painted yesterday across the entrances of two HDB carparks at Tampines Avenue 4 and Tampines Street 41.

They link cycling tracks and footpaths on either side of the carpark entrance.

They are meant to alert motorists to the presence of pedestrians and cyclists crossing the road, and encourage drivers to slow down, said the Land Transport Authority (LTA).

But the LTA, which is helming the project, said motorists will still have the right of way.

The markings will be on trial for a month before the LTA assesses their effectiveness.

An LTA spokesman said it would also assess "if these markings can be extended to other locations, such as existing and future cycling towns".

Tampines was chosen because it has a large number of cyclists, and an 11.3km network of cycling paths, she said.

Experts had mixed views.

Associate Professor Wong Yiik Diew, director of the Centre for Infrastructure Systems at Nanyang Technological University, felt it was a step in the right direction. "They call this in traffic engineering circles 'courtesy crossings'. It does not amount to a hard regulation, but is a means of guidance (for drivers)."

But Dr Paul Barter, an adjunct associate professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, felt the change could be bolder. He cited the example of road markings in the Netherlands which require drivers to stop for pedestrians or cyclists.

"In many countries, motor vehicles making any turn must give way to people on foot or on bicycles," he said, adding that this was not the case here. "(This) creates a hazardous situation for vulnerable road users."

Tampines resident Angela Oh, 26, felt the project was a good move, as many cyclists have been involved in accidents. "But people might wonder what the markings are for - it might take some time for them to get used to it," said the marketing and sales executive.

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