SINGAPORE - With three new cycling towns identified, more safety measures and a bike-sharing programme in the pipeline, cycling may become a viable commuting option.

Off-road cycling paths will be built in Bishan, Bukit Panjang and Woodlands under the programme, joining Ang Mo Kio, Chua Chu Kang and Toa Payoh, which were announced in October, said Parliamentary Secretary for Transport Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim yesterday.

This will bring cycling towns to a total of 15. By 2020, the Government plans to provide 26 Housing Board towns with a cycling network of around 190km.

Some 500 more bicycle racks will be built at 11 MRT stations, including Aljunied, Chinese Garden, Kovan and Potong Pasir, said Associate Professor Faishal.

A bicycle-sharing programme, not unlike those found in Paris and London, will also be piloted at the Jurong Lake District by next year. There are also plans to try this programme out at Marina Bay.

To increase safety for cyclists, 190 "Cyclists Ahead" signs along popular cycling routes like Upper Changi and Thomson will be refreshed with a more vibrant design and contrasting colours.

Thirteen mid-block bicycle crossings will also be implemented in towns such as Tampines, to separate cyclists and pedestrians at these signalised crossings, and cyclists will not have to dismount.

Besides cyclists, the elderly will also benefit from a Silver Zone concept to be piloted in five towns: Bedok North, Bukit Merah, Jurong West, Marine Parade and Yishun. These zones will see speed humps to slow down vehicles, and lifts at pedestrian overhead bridges.

Transport expert Lee Der Horng said making more towns cycling friendly will "create acceptance" of cyclists by other road users, like drivers.

This will go a long way in the future, when commuters see cycling as an alternative option to travel from home to the city, instead of just intra-town.