Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ride of Silence Singapore - impressions from a car window

The Ride of Silence Singapore was held yesterday, Wed 20th May 2009 with cyclists gathered at Merlion Park at 7pm. I was unable to join them but instead observed the half the ride route from a car window. Several of my friends from Zendogs and Cycling in Singapore were riding do I knew I could exchange impressions with them later.

For me the ride meant commemorating Kroxy, an NTU student who was senselessly killed in 2003. He was the last man of a group riding back to NTU and was tragically run over at Jalan Bahar by a drunk driver just before the group turned into the relative safety of NTU.

I never knew Alvin Boey personally but he was a promoter of cycling in Singapore like many of us. I always think of him when I ride NTU's Round Island Bike Rally and each time I pass Jalan Bahar on the way to Lm Chu Kang or Sungei Buloh. The Ride of Silence is a good way to commemorate his spirit and to me it s a reminder that cyclists and motorists need to work at sharing the road safely.

The rest of this was posted last night on my personal blog and is reproduced here for the record. You can read all the posts on Ride of Silence (Paul Barter, Yap Chi Wei and mine) by clicking the "ride of silence" label. See also other impressions by:
  • mrbrown,
  • Azam's life,
  • wang writes.

    Meanwhile congratulations to the organiser for bring this event to reality!

    My friends went down after work to Merlion Park today for the Ride of Silence Singapore. They reported a large turnout and cyclists were released in groups of about 10. We dropped in on the cyclists just as they left Merlion Park to thread through the city before heading out west to loop around Holland Village. 

    The route required them to make a few lane shifts and navigate through small, busy roads (see route). By Holland Road, the groups found the space and momentum to be tighter. The video clips below show two groups riding up the Holland Road slope before they head down through Orchard Road. Note how the first group is more disciplined about keeping to a single file. It was nice to see the groups crunch up the slope in silence with a few nods of heads to us as they cycled past.

    From the short time we spent following the groups along the first half of the route, a few things were obvious:
    • White is striking at night! An all white t-shirt or jersey as ordered ("dress in white") would have really made the group stand out. The mixed coloured jerseys that some persisted in wearing are not noticeable and quite unsuitable or night cycling.
    • Rear helmet lights were prominent and in fact, critical for congested roads where cyclists ride in close proximity to motorists. However, few cyclists had rear helmet lights. The rear seat lights are less useful in these situations as they are more noticeable from afar.
    • Many were using pretty decent front white blinking lights. Surprisingly some were actually riding without front lights.
    • The few passerby-cyclists without lights were practically invisible to traffic!
    • Quite a number of cyclists were clueless about navigating lane changes safely - their timing and hand signals left much to be desired. Wish they sign up for some practical training somewhere, the sort motorcyclists get in preparation for their Class 2B license.
    • The ride was supposed to be a slow-paced ride. But I think I'd be hard-pressed to keep up with some groups who were whizzed past!

    I'm sure there will be more on my cycling lists later tonight and tomorrow. Hope it will help the organisers next year. Meanwhile, see news from Rides of Silence around the world and tweets from cyclists gearing up or after their ride.

    Some of my photos from the ride are on Flickr; see also VR-Zone.

    "Cyclists join thousands worldwide in Ride of Silence," by Tan Yew Guan. Channel NewsAsia, 20 May 2009.

    SINGAPORE: About 200 cyclists gathered at the Merlion Park on Wednesday evening to embark on a one-hour ride through Singapore's roads. They joined thousands of others in a world wide movement.

    Called the Ride of Silence, riders went at a slow pace throughout the 19 kilometre route.

    At the same time, they maintained silence amid the roar of traffic in honour of those killed or injured in traffic accidents while cycling.

    Last year, at least 20 people died in such accidents.

    The first Ride of Silence rolled off in Dallas in the United States six years ago.

    Then, it was just a gathering of one thousand cyclists to mark the death of a fellow cyclist who was killed by a school bus mirror.

    Throughout world, from Hong Kong to Spain and all across the United States, cyclists in over 200 locations are taking part in similar rides.

    Organisers hope that the event will make drivers more aware of the presence of cyclists on the roads. - CNA/vm


Mark Lee said...

oh... you knew Alvin too? He's a personal friend and my team mate when we were in NTU

Unknown said...

Alvin dearest beloved bro. Incidentally today marks his 11th lunar death I was googling him and came across this posting. Miss him so much. He went away doing something that he loved...cycling. Ride safe, boys. He will be remembered fondly forever.