Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Razor TV five part feature on Cycling Safety (21 Jun 2010)

Link to the videos at Razor TV here. Click part 1 and the video will continue through all five parts. The team talked to Theodore Teo, Benoi Valin and various other cyclists and motorists.

RAZORTV - Cycling Safety
  1. Roads dangerous for cyclists (Cycling safety Pt 1) [06:31]
    Cyclists and motorists are clashing over their right to Singapore's roads. RazorTV finds out the grievances cyclists have about motorists.
  2. Motorists afraid of cyclists (Cycling safety Pt 2) [03:06]
    Motorists say that cyclists in Singapore do not practise safe cycling and often flout traffic regulations.
  3. More cyclists = more accidents? (Cycling safety Pt 3) [04:07]
    With more cyclists on the road, the jostle for space has become more intense. RazorTV finds out if having more road cyclists mean more accidents.
  4. Cycling to work is a breeze (Cycling safety Pt 4) [04:52]
    RazorTV follows Theodore Teo, assistant director at the Office of Career Services at Singapore Management University, from his home in Dover to his workplace in Victoria Street. Find out how he survives the bustling morning traffic.
  5. How to ride safely (Cycling safety Pt 5) [05:45]
    RazorTV learns how to ride safely on Singapore's roads from Theodore Teo, a committee member of Safe Cycling Task Force.
Update - See Thomas Keeble's remarks in the comment section.


thomask said...

razor tv doesn't seem to have a comments section. maybe you have to sign up?

anyway, here are some points i took away.

part 1: shows us a perfect example of the typically 'blur' singaporean driver, and an entirely appropriate reaction from the cyclist who was almost side-swiped. i honestly don't think drivers here on the whole are malicious, they just don't look!

the lesson to take away is to ride defensively - expect drivers not to see you, and ride accordingly. try and make eye contact with a driver if you can. waving and the 'stop' hand signal helps.

also roads here are NOT narrow. they're so wide the rider could pull right out of the path of the car to avoid being hit but still stay in the left lane. there is plenty of room to paint a 1.5m wide bike lane and then narrow the remaining lanes by 50 - 60 cm each.

part 2: this video showed lots of old uncles crossing against red lights and riding the wrong way up one-way streets. no one is arguing that this is acceptable behaviour. however, using a ped crossing on the green light to perform a hook turn is perfectly acceptable, providing you ride at walking pace and give way to peds.

at one point a driver was complaining that bicycles take up "lane space". this is a RIGHT of cyclists to be on the road. in fact it's recommended to ride 1/3 of the way into a lane to force cars to completely move over into the second lane to overtake, rather than encourage them to try and squeeze past.

part 3: as stated, it is obvious that more cyclists on the road will equal more cycling accidents, just as having more cars due to the COE stuffup has led to more insurance claims. BUT, what wasn't stated was that as the number of cyclists goes up, your personal probability of having an accident goes down. there's safety in numbers, not danger.

part 4: the alexandra canal PCN urgently needs crossing lights installed at the major junctons with delta rd, zion rd and kim seng rd.

part 5: again, no-one is arguing that cyclists should ride unsafely. sure, wear a helmet (when riding on the roads), but really, the most pressing requirement is for better (any!?) driver education.

i read one comment somewhere by a driver saying she shouldn't have to take responsibility for looking out for cyclists - she "didn't sign up for it". i'm sorry, but this lady should immediately chop up her license and join the bus queue, as that's exactly the kind of responsibilty she signed up for. seriously, who let this person in charge of 2 tonnes of speeding metal? better yet, she should stop breathing altogether, as she also didn't sign up for that responsibilty when she was born. the roads would certainly be a safer place for everyone.

Back2Nature said...

I agree very much with thomask. Drivers are the ones who need to learn how to drive safely on roads with cyclists, which is only to become more common if Singapore is to be a developed nation/city.

I also agree that most lanes of our roads are wide. No need 1.5 m, 0.5 m is very good already, which is surely achievable! Not only the lanes, but also many pedestrian paths and the grass patch besides them can also yield more space, though more costly to do so.

The whole part on safety, or the whole series didn't say a thing on defensive riding. Be seen, wearing protective gear, giving hand signals, showing courtesy, etc. are good, but these don't really effectively avoid accidents, except the rear mirror but it wasn't emphasized. Rather, defensive riding do. I have written something on it:

Briefly, defensive riding is about the attitude of allowing ZERO near incident/accident to happen, because whenever one cycles on the road, he/she could be easily killed! Thus, don't fall into the trap of becoming complacent after equipping with all the "safety" gears!

One can do all the possible things to enhance being seen, but without the attitude that you still could be overlooked by motorists, your are in great danger. One can do all the practical things to enhanced protection, but people still die in accidents.

Anonymous said...

As the Government is encouraging pedestrians and motorist to be more considerate to cyclist, they now feel that they have the right to cycle through bus-stops; markets, food centre, pedestrian crossing and they also expect all motorist to stop for them.

I am waiting for an accident at a bus-stop! People alighting cannot see cyclist speeding through the bus-stops. Can you imagine what will happen if someone or a child or a primary student alighting, gets knocked down by a speeding cyclist?

I have asked my MP to put warning signs to disallow cyclist to cycle through bus-stops. But I guess my MP will only get this going when a serious accident happens.