Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Errant cyclists will affect tolerance for riding on pavements

Note: Cycling on pavements is technically illegal. Yet there is tolerance for this generally amongst pedestrians. But bad behaviour put pedestrians at risk and and lower tolerance. Two letters appear this week in the online forum of The Straits Times.

"If road bullies are hauled to court, errant cyclists shouldn't be let off hook." By Marcus Tun. ST Forum (Online Letters) [The Straits Times], 24 Jan 2006.

I write this with reference to the letter 'Take action against cyclists on pavements before accidents happen' (ST Online Forum Jan 20) by Mr Teoh Beng San.

Working in Tampines, where cyclists riding on pedestrian walkways is not an exception, I truly empathise with his situation. Not only do they infest the walkways, frequently there will be those who insist it is their divine right to speed and make sharp turns around the corners of the many office buildings and malls there.

It does not require a genius to know that such corners are blind spots. Yet I have encountered more than a few such instances. Once a colleague of mine just missed being knocked over by a cyclist who appeared around a corner like an aspiring Valentino Rossi.

Not only was he unapologetic, he glared at her before proceeding merrily along his way.

This topic has been revisited ad nauseum. But it was the behavior of the cyclist cited in Mr Teoh's letter that prompted me to come out with this. To think that the errant cyclist had the gall and audacity to be aggressive sickens and infuriates me.

Will he have dared to do this to someone half Mr Teoh's age and may be in a much better physical shape? Not likely.

We see how road bullies are hauled to courts and slapped with fines and jail terms for their callous actions. This cyclist and others like him should not be treated differently.

Hit them hard where it hurts, be it the pocket or something else. I understand the need and clamour for cyclists to have their share of road space but pedestrian walkways and corridors are just not theirs.

Take action against cyclists on pavements before accidents happen." By Teoh Beng San. ST Forum (Online Letters) [The Straits Times], 20 Jan 2006.
I am writing to you because I've had enough of irresponsible, inconsiderate cyclists who turn the pavement for pedestrians into a bicycle lane.

On January 13 evening, I was walking along the pavement at Simei Street 3 on my way to Simei MRT Station. A male Chinese on a bicycle with a woman as pillion-rider passed me from the rear.

After he overtook me, he said in Hokkien 'Ah Pek did not hear the bell'. Sensing that he was annoyed with me for not giving way, I remarked in English that he should not be cycling on the pavement.

I was unable to hear him ringing his bicycle bell as I am 76-years-old and hard of hearing. When he heard my remark, he stopped and confronted me.

He asked me in a threatening manner if I was capable of walking on the road. To my affirmative reply, he arrogantly told me he too can cycle on the pavement.

I tried to make him realise that it was an offence to cycle on a pedestrian pavement but he turned aggressive. It was my good fortune that my daughter-in-law, who was waiting at the roadside, intervened and calmed him down.

I dread to think what could have happened to me if not for the timely intervention of my daughter-in-law.

What is the police doing? What action is being taken against such errant and irresponsible cyclists who are breaking the law and making a mockery of it?

About a year ago, the then Commander of Traffic Police wrote me a letter (and I am sure to other motorists as well) about ensuring 'road safety of more vulnerable road users like motorcyclists, pedestrians and cyclists'.

I would like to ask the police: Now that irresponsible and errant cyclists pose a serious danger to pedestrians by converting the pedestrian walkway into a bicycle lane, who is more vulnerable, the cyclist or the pedestrian?
I suggested in my reply to the then Commander to have a campaign to educate cyclists that they cannot flout the law and pose a danger to pedestrians.

I got a reply saying they will work on my feedback. Alas the situation is worse now. Perhaps only when a pedestrian, especially a child, gets seriously injured or dies because of an errant cyclist will the police take strong action against them.

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings.


Anonymous said...

damn these nasty hogs. i cycle quite a bit in oz where cycling on the pedestrian sidewalks are not legal too and even though we have bicycle lanes everywhere, sometimes i am forced to cycle on the sidewalks when traffic is massive and everyone's speeding (i dare not risk my life). I can't understand how cyclists think they can hog both the road and walkways like their king of the roads; sometimes in my evil mind, i feel like running them over with a car.

great article.

Anonymous said...

Make a citizen's arrest, and sue the cyclist for dangerous driving!

Anonymous said...

Cyclist and Pedestrian need to sit down and have coffee.
Lets not argue who has the right of way.
Lets us have common understanding and share the Sidewalks..

Aidan NurArieff said...

please create lanes for cyclist so that its fair if not what are parks for...Im getting a pocket bike soon and i'm living in Tampines and don;t tell i have to go all theway to Kallang area just to do cycling there...So please allow cyclist to cycle in parks..If you;re scared of accidents then divide the parks...Road usage for pocket bikes is not allowed which i totally agree but there's less area for cyclist...So please allow cyclist to cycle on parks..By the way field which are not used for anything at all,is it allowed for cyclist?...