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Speech by Senior Minister of State for Transport Dr Lam Pin Min for the Active Mobility Appreciation Day 2019

26 Jan 2019 Speeches

Active Mobility Patrol (AMP) Volunteers,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

1.     A very good morning to all of you. It gives me great pleasure to join you at today’s 2nd Active Mobility Patrol Appreciation Day, to recognise the efforts and good work of the volunteers in our Active Mobility Patrol (or AMP in short).

Active Mobility for a Healthier Lifestyle

2.     Active mobility provides Singaporeans with options for a healthier lifestyle while getting to their destinations. Many Singaporeans walk, cycle or use personal mobility devices (PMDs) for shorter journeys, for example, from home to the nearest MRT station, bus interchange or shopping centre. What used to be too far to walk comfortably is now just a comfortable cycle away. Many commuters have also shared that walking and cycling are very good ways to incorporate some exercise into their daily routines, to achieve their daily 10,000 steps or their weekly 150 minutes of physical activity.

3.     The government will continue to create a conducive environment for active mobility by enhancing our infrastructure. For example, we have completed over 200km of sheltered walkways to provide a more comfortable environment for walking. We will also continue to roll out more dedicated cycling paths and build a cycling network in every HDB town by 2030.

4.     However, infrastructure alone is not enough to provide a quality active mobility experience. Often, our interactions with fellow commuters shape and define our commuting experience. Even as more commuters enjoy the benefits of active mobility devices, we have also seen a corresponding increase in conflicts and accidents occurring on our public paths between different path users.

Gracious Path-Sharing is Key

5.     We are aware that the most common suggested solution is to have dedicated paths for different users. Where possible, we will try to provide dedicated spaces for different types of path users – footpaths for pedestrians, cycling paths for active mobility device users. But this may not be possible everywhere. I think we can all agree that Singapore is a small country with limited space. Thus, the sharing of spaces is inevitable.

6.     Given the limits of rules, regulations and physical infrastructure, we have to seriously consider how we can encourage pedestrians and active mobility users to share our paths graciously. Safe riding behaviour must become a social norm, such that it is second nature for cyclists and PMD riders to respect the safety of pedestrians and more vulnerable path users. Pedestrians also need to be aware of other path users, and tailor their behaviour accordingly. Everyone has a role to play in building a gracious path-sharing culture.

The Active Mobility Patrol (AMP) Scheme

7.     This is where you, our dear AMP volunteers, play a crucial role. It is often the friendly words of advice and gentle reminders that leave the greatest impression and positively influence a person’s behaviour.

8.     Since we set up the AMP scheme in 2016, we now have more than 1,000 volunteers from 62 teams taking the lead within their communities to shape a gracious and safer path sharing culture. This is an increase of 25% from the 800 AMP volunteers we had at the last AMP appreciation day in July 2017. Let me share some exemplary examples of what our AMP teams have done.

9.     A key strength that community volunteers, like yourselves, possess is the ability to pool community resources and bring together diverse stakeholders. You are also in the best position to appreciate the unique ground conditions and riding patterns in your community. The Braddell Heights AMP team regularly organises outreach programmes to educate fellow residents on safe riding practices. They took the initiative to play the role of “Safe Riding Ambassadors” to constantly speak with and advise residents on safe path sharing behaviours. Over time, the team saw a marked improvement in how cyclists and PMD riders share paths safely with other path users in the Braddell Heights constituency.

10.    You may have come across the Mountbatten AMP team if you use the suspension
bridge at the Sports Hub on Saturday mornings. Since April 2016, these volunteers have been tirelessly engaging cyclists and PMD riders to dismount and push their devices on the bridge, which is a pedestrian-only path. Their efforts were initially met with bewildered looks from pedestrians and riders; but as a result of the team’s perseverance, more active mobility device users now dismount from their devices when approaching the bridge, thereby improving the safety of all path users.

11.    As a testament to their efforts in proactively addressing issues within their community, both the Braddell Heights and Mountbatten AMP teams received the Municipal Services Award last year. Please join me in congratulating them once again.

12.    I would also like to highlight the efforts of the Tanjong Pagar-Tiong Bahru AMP team. Apart from their regular patrols, the team worked together with the Tanjong Pagar photography club to organise a “Scoot to Shoot” event, a photography competition in which photo enthusiasts scoot on PMDs to scenic locations to snap photos. The interesting part of this event is that participants had to first complete the Safe Riding Programme (or SRP for short) to ensure they are equipped with the skills and knowledge of how to keep themselves and others safe on public paths. Scoot to Shoot not only promotes safe riding, but also helps to demonstrate the benefits of active mobility in our lives. This is an excellent example of innovative ideas!

13.    I could go on with even more examples, but suffice to say that all AMP teams have
been doing very good work on the ground to catalyse positive change in their constituencies. I encourage all teams to continue these efforts, learn from one another, and spur one another on in your good work.

Safe Riding Programme (SRP)

14.    Allow me to share about the SRP, which LTA has worked with the Singapore Road
Safety Council to develop. The SRP aims to strengthen common understanding on how to ride safely and graciously. It is a 90-minute theory and practical programme that teaches active mobility device riders how to safely navigate different scenarios on public paths. We launched the SRP in February 2018 and the programme is free of charge for all participants in the first year.

15.    And in this first year, it is indeed very heartening to know that more than 25,000
participants from the community, schools and corporate organisations have completed the programme. More than 95% of participants found that the programme taught them how to ride safe and many enjoyed the practical segment which allowed them to practise safe riding behaviours in a circuit.

16.    Riding on the positive take-up, I am pleased to announce that we will continue to offer the programme at a fully subsidised rate till end 2019. The SRP will continue to be an accessible resource that all can benefit from and I seek your continued support to participate in the programme and to promote it to those around you.

Conclusion

17.    In closing, I would like to thank all AMP teams for the efforts and good work that you have put in the past year. Active mobility has become an integral part of our transport landscape and is a key component of a sustainable transport system in a liveable city. The government will continue to monitor the landscape and support the take up of active mobility, keeping public safety in mind. Such efforts will have to go hand-in-hand with continued educational efforts to promote the safe and gracious sharing of paths. This partnership with our AMP volunteers is important and I seek your continued support as we co-create a sustainable active mobility landscape in Singapore.

18.    Thank you for spending your time with us, not just today at this morning’s session, but even more for taking time in your daily lives to volunteer in your constituencies and make Singapore a better place. I wish you an enjoyable morning. Thank you.