Scott Nowicki worked in UNLV's Harrah College of Hotel Administration's Singapore satellite campus and he apologises to Las Vegas for saying the LV had poor cycling infrastructure. He found a worse place, Singapore.
The conditions in Singapore were almost as bad as crossing the Strip on a bike. But rather than being a confined region of bicycle hell, it was like that for every mile of every major street. I would get passed by hundreds if not a thousand cabs per mile. The speed alone was harrowing.
It also seems that Singapore made a conscious decision to not include bikes in the road system. Therefore, not only were there no bike lanes, but the traffic was routed like a freeway on all arterial streets, where cars are expected to make turns at speed. For the majority of the roadways, if I made a mistake or if a car made a mistake or if anything else unexpected occurred, I’d be squished dead.
Only slightly less ridiculous was the off-street path network. The city boasted more than a hundred miles of park connector paths that criss-cross the city in family-friendly routes suitable for bicycles and baby strollers.
My few attempts to navigate this system resulted in my carrying my bike more than on any mountain bike trail in Bootleg Canyon. It is as though the city planners simply superimposed paths on top of the existing street network, and any time the path crossed a street, the street won.
I’d be riding along a nice paved path, only to dead-end at the bottom of a flight of stairs. At the top of the stairs would be a 4-lane road with no crossing. So, I’d play Frogger through to the traffic, carry my bike back down the flight of stairs and continue on the route for less than a half a mile before having to do it again. Needless to say, nobody was out on these paths.
This experience changed my perspective. Singapore is what a modern city looks like if bikes and pedestrians are not included in the transportation mix. The transit system is spectacular, and cabs are everywhere, but if you want to propel yourself, you are taking your life into your own hands.