Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Media on OCBC Cycle Singapore's Safe Cycling Campaign, 18 Dec 2010

OCBC Cycle Singapore Safe Cycling Campaign

The OCBC Cycle Singapore Safe Cycling Campaign on 18 Dec 2010 [weblink, press release] received excellent coverage leading up to and after the event, with several articles in local media raising awareness and discussing the issue about sharing the roads. The articles are listed here chronologically.

  • "OCBC Cycle S'pore Launches Safety Campaign." The New Paper, 07 Dec 2010.
  • "How realistic is this safety rule?" By Chong Zi Liang. The Straits Times, 16 Dec 2010.
  • "Cyclists wish for safer rides," by David Lim. MyPaper, 17 Dec 2010.
  • "Safe cycling campaign launched," by S Ramesh. ChanelnewsAsia, 18 Dec 2010.
  • "Singapore Kicks Off Safe Cycling Campaign," by Danson Cheong. The New Paper, 21 Dec 2010.

"OCBC Cycle S'pore Launches Safety Campaign." The New Paper, 07 Dec 2010.

A NEW campaign to promote safe cycling was launched on Monday.

Called the OCBC Cycle Singapore Safe Cycling Campaign, it aims to raise awareness of the need for both cyclists and motorists to respect each other.

Its motto? "1.5m matters. Share the road", aims to send the message to cyclists and motorists to stay 1.5m from one another.

You can get one of the 50,000 car decals which will be given out to motorists who refuel at Caltex stations.

If you are spotted with the decal on your vehicle from now to Dec 18, your registration plate will be recorded and entered into a lucky draw on Dec 20.

20 winners

You could be one of 20 winners who will get $200 worth of Caltex vouchers.The results of the lucky draw will be posted on the OCBC Cycle Singapore website ( and the Radio 91.3 website (

Dec 18 has also been dedicated as Safe Cycling Day and 2,000 cycling jerseys will be distributed, mainly at the Longhouse hawker centre along Upper Thomson Road, that morning.

The organisers hope most of the people who get the jerseys will wear them when cycling on that day. The campaign was launched by OCBC Bank and Spectrum Worldwide, an events and marketing company.

Mr Chris Robb, Spectrum's managing director, said: "Cycling has grown tremendously in Singapore over the past few years and we are seeing more cyclists on our road than ever before.

"As the organiser of the biggest mass participation cycling event on closed roads here, we feel it is our responsibility to promote the safe cycling message."

The third annual OCBC Cycle Singapore event will take place from March 4 to 6 next year, and will feature a professional night race for the first time.

"How realistic is this safety rule?" By Chong Zi Liang. The Straits Times, 16 Dec 2010.

AS AN avid cyclist who rides 20km to and from work on his foldable bike every day, Mr Bryan Teo has had his fair share of close brushes with fellow road users. 'Sometimes, the cars come so close just to send a message that you have no place on the road,' said the 35-year-old store manager of a Starbucks coffee outlet in Raffles Place.

Not only are cyclists entitled to use the roads, but the handbook for the driving final theory test also states that motorists should give 1.5m of space when passing bicycles - something most motorists do not do after collecting their licences.

But motorists say they already try to give cyclists as wide a berth as road conditions allow, and it is simply impossible to adhere to the 1.5m distance in heavy traffic.

'How do we keep that distance if there are other cars in the second lane? All we can do is slow down while passing the cyclist,' said Mr Kong Yew On, 51, a construction contractor who drives frequently in his job.

The Singapore Road Safety Council (SRSC) shared this view. Its chairman, Mr Bernard Tay, pointed out that since the leftmost traffic lane cyclists use is about 3.7m wide, keeping a 1.5m distance will require the motorist to encroach partly into the adjacent traffic lane. This is not possible when all lanes are used in heavy traffic.

'SRSC urges motorists to accept that the cyclists also have a right to use the road and to always keep a reasonable, safe passing distance, which the prevailing traffic conditions permit,' said Mr Tay, who is also president of the Automobile Association of Singapore.

Even so, an ongoing OCBC Cycle Singapore Safe Cycling Campaign, launched on Nov 29, is trying to drive home the message with the tagline: '1.5m matters. Share the road.'

Through car decals and cycling jerseys bearing the campaign slogan, as well as radio contests, the campaign hopes to encourage drivers to keep a safe distance from cyclists.

This is the first time that OCBC Cycle Singapore - the largest mass cycling event here - has organised a safe cycling campaign. The event is into its third year and will take place in March next year.

Seven cyclists were killed in the first five months of this year - up from three in the same period in 2009. In the whole of last year, 17 cyclists involved in accidents were killed, compared with 22 in 2008.

Cyclists like Ms Angeline Tan, 32, acknowledge the 1.5m distance is more of a guideline than a hard and fast rule. Still, she believes the campaign has value because it will raise awareness that cyclists, too, belong on the road. The documentary content researcher cycles about three times a week in a group of about 10 before dawn to avoid traffic.

Cyclists have mooted the idea of having bike lanes on the roads in the past, but this was rejected by the Land Transport Authority, citing space constraints. Instead, cycling lanes are increasingly being built next to footpaths.

With cycling gaining popularity both as a form of exercise and transport, cyclists say both drivers and cyclists need to be more accommodating.

And though cyclists have horror stories of belligerent drivers, they admit that they have seen cyclists who give them a bad name by riding without a helmet, beating red lights and even riding against the flow of traffic.

But Member of Parliament Teo Ser Luck, a biking enthusiast himself, pointed out that cyclists always bear the brunt of accidents no matter whose fault it is. So motorists should make the effort to give cyclists a safe riding environment, he said.

'A light bump on a car will just cause a dent, but a light bump on a cyclist can send him flying and that will either be fatal or cause serious injuries,' said the MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC.

"Cyclists wish for safer rides," by David Lim. MyPaper, 17 Dec 2010.

CYCLISTS here find it hard to enjoy their sport because of long-standing concerns over road safety.

Some, like bank dealer and cycling enthusiast Pang Meng Yam, told my paper yesterday that he has to cycle either late at night or in the wee hours, when there are fewer vehicles on the road

Even so, he has had close shaves with drivers. "I've encountered people who drove up close and tried to scare me while I was cycling," he said.

That is why he is wary of taking his two children - Crystal, 10, and Maximus, eight - out for long rides on roads.

Instead, he and his wife, Carol, take them to parks with cycling routes, even though these can be too short for fun rides.

"If there are better safety measures, we would take the kids for rides on the road and enjoy the scenery in places like Lim Chu Kang," said Mr Pang.

He would be pleased, then, to learn that OCBC Cycle Singapore will be launching its new Safe Cycling Campaign ahead of the third edition of its mass-cycling event on March 4 to 6.

The campaign's tagline is "1.5m matters. Share the road", a reference to the distance motorists should keep between their vehicles and bicycles when they overtake cyclists on the road.

Tomorrow marks the campaign's "Safe Cycling Day", when cyclists are encouraged to gather for a mass ride starting from Longhouse hawker centre in Upper Thomson Road.

Mr Victor Yew, president of the Singapore Amateur Cycling Association, said: "We hope to raise awareness and educate all parties on the road. The 1.5m distance is basically a guideline, and the rest is up to drivers' discretion."

Cyclists here have proposed adding cycling lanes - such as those found in Melbourne, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Berlin - to roads. But the idea was rejected by the Land Transport Authority, citing space constraints.

Mr Pang agrees that there is not enough land here to accommodate cycling lanes, but suggested the setting up of shared lanes for public transport and cyclists on weekend nights, when cyclists face less risk of being hit by a vehicle.

Fellow cycling enthusiast Eugene Oh suffered abrasions and a broken rib earlier this year when he was hit by a car while cycling in a group.

The 36-year-old said: "It really depends on how much importance the authorities place on the issue. The only way for people to pay attention is to impose appropriate punishment."

"Safe cycling campaign launched," by S Ramesh. ChanelnewsAsia, 18 Dec 2010.

SINGAPORE: More efforts are being made in Singapore to promote cycling in a safe environment.

This was conveyed through the OCBC Safe Cycling Campaign launched on Saturday, in which 9,000 cyclist will be taking part.

The key message of the campaign is "1.5M Matters. Share the Road".

Observing the safe distance of 1.5 metres from each other and obeying traffic rules would enable both cyclists and motorists to enjoy a safe journey on the roads.

The month-long campaign will see some 50,000 car decals and 2,000 cycling jerseys being distributed.

The campaign aims to raise the awareness of the need for both cyclists and motorists to respect each other and share the roads.

Organisers say safe cycling on public roads can be achieved as long as both parties play their part in observing traffic rules and keeping a safe distance from each other.

OCBC Safe Cycling Campaign organiser Chris Robb said people in other cities in the world overcome climate challenges of cycling.

"You hear stories about London where there are thousands of people cycling to work in (the) freezing cold; in snow, rain, and if they can do it those conditions, why can't we do it here in Singapore?

"Get to work half an hour early, have a shower cool down and go to work," he said.

"Singapore Kicks Off Safe Cycling Campaign," by Danson Cheong. The New Paper, 21 Dec 2010.

MORE than 2,000 cyclists kicked off Singapore's first Safe Cycling Day at Longhouse Food Centre along Upper Thomson Road Saturday.

Longhouse is the de facto weekend meeting point for cyclists.

Safe Cycling Day is part of the OCBC Cycle Singapore Safe Cycling Campaign, which was launched on Nov 29 by the organisers of OCBC Cycle Singapore, the largest cycling event here.

Despite the ominous-looking sky, the organisers gave out a whopping 2,000 safe-cycling jerseys to cyclists who thronged the popular eating spot.

Cyclists donned the jerseys, bearing the campaign's tag line "1.5m matters. Share the road", before heading out for their rides.

According to driving theory handbooks, drivers have to give cyclists 1.5m of space when overtaking them.

The 1.5m rule made the news recently, when a report in The Straits Times last Thursday debated the practicality of giving cyclists such a wide berth in space-crunched Singapore.

Experts said the rule might not be applicable in all situations. To cyclists, however, the extra space can mean the difference between life and death.


Ask Mr Jeffrey Ng, Mr Jason Yip or Mr David Ng.

Other than a love for bicycles, the three men have something else in common.

All three are survivors of traffic accidents which happened while they were cycling on the road.

Mr Yip, 23, was commuting to work in 2006 when he got side-swiped by a bus and Mr David Ng, 22, was hit from behind by a car in August while he was riding to meet his training group.

Mr Jeffrey Ng had his brush with death just recently.

The 57-year-old retiree was riding in a group at night along Loyang Avenue on Nov 28 when he was hit from behind.

Mr Ng recounted: "I had just turned left from a filter lane when a 10-foot lorry made a U-turn and hit me from behind."

According to him, both he and his bike were pinned under the lorry and dragged for about two metres.

He said: "When it happened, I grabbed a bar on the lorry's undercarriage and just held on for dear life. My friends thought I was finished."

Apart from a bad case of road rash and bike damages totalling about $5,000, Mr Ng emerged relatively unscathed, which was "miraculous", he said.

Many other cyclists weren't so lucky.
This year, seven local cyclists lost their lives in road accidents between January and May - the figure is more than double the three persons killed in the same period last year.

In total, 17 cyclists and their pillion riders were killed in road accidents last year. In 2008, the number was 22.

With more Singaporeans taking up road cycling as a sport and hobby, it is inevitable for the number to rise.

The trio, who have more than 10 years of cycling experience between them, were wearing helmets and had proper lights for visibility when the accidents happened.

The younger Mr Ng, an undergraduate, said: "Accidents can happen to any rider, regardless of how protected you are. That's why the 1.5m distance is so critical."

Mr Yip pointed out: "If the bus driver had given me just a little bit more space, I wouldn't have been flung off the bike."

During his accident, Mr Yip was thrown behind the bus on the left-most lane. His bicycle, worth $2,000, landed in a wreck on the centre lane.

While the trio said that both drivers and cyclists could be at fault during accidents, they pointed out that drivers in Singapore "do not know how to react with cyclists on the road".

Said Mr Yip: "Aside from a brief mention in theory handbooks, learner drivers don't learn hands-on skills about driving with cyclists.

"We need to implement some guidelines governing interaction between both parties."

The younger Mr Ng added: "A small percentage of drivers feel we shouldn't even be on the roads. We need to change that mindset."

To that end, the group agreed that the OCBC Safe Cycling Campaign was a step in the right direction.

However, they are sceptical of any lasting impact without concrete government support.

That said, cyclists themselves could start to foster a friendlier riding environment.

For starters, riders could start by obeying rules.

Cyclists, even the most disciplined among them, commonly beat traffic lights.

The older Mr Ng said: "Many of us like to ride fast and rush past the lights. But what's the rush? What's important is that you reach home safely."

The younger Mr Ng also suggested that cyclists should stay behind cars instead of weaving in and out of vehicles at traffic lights.

He said: "I'm a driver too, and I know drivers hate that."

Mr Yip, who collected a safe cycling jersey of his own Saturday, said: "If you want to gain the respect and change the attitudes of drivers, look at your behaviour first.

"Ride safely and obey traffic rules."


Back2Nature said...

I just had an unpleasant experience this morning at the junction along North Buona Vista Road at the junction with Ayer Rajah Road. On green light, as I rode forward a [silver color] taxi keep horning at me to give way. Why? Simply because he doesn't want to slow down because it is merging lanes after the traffic light and there is another car just on his right.

I should have jotted down the license plate number, but even so, what could I do?

thomask said...

"Cyclists have mooted the idea of having bike lanes on the roads in the past, but this was rejected by the Land Transport Authority, citing space constraints"

I wonder if the myserious people at the LTA have ever actually seen a picture of bike lanes in other countries, much less visited them?

The lanes are painted on existing roads, there's no 'widening' (of the already excessively wide lanes) required.

This continued "no space" mantra is a boring and insipid excuse.

Back2Nature said...

Also, for me, I don't ask for bike lanes on every single road. I am doing fine without bike lanes for many years. However, some roads do need bike lanes, while other may needs different ways to improve cycling on roads. So, one single and broad excuse suggests they are unwilling to look at the issues.

As a start, it would be helpful to me if they can make legal to ride along PIE from Whitley road to Whitley Road towards town.

iBlog said...

I think all they need is to convert normal lanes to "bicycle" lanes on specific days / hours.

I second to the fact that the LTA has no idea what space a bicycle lane requires.

iBlog said...

All they need is to convert existing lane to cycling lanes on specific days / hours.

Mike Tan said...

"Cyclists have mooted the idea of having bike lanes on the roads in the past, but this was rejected by the Land Transport Authority, citing space constraints"

It's just a lazy excuse by LTA. If they can mark out bus lanes, YOG Give Way lanes, compuslory Give Way to Bus lanes, etc, why not cycling lanes?