Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Are cyclists sharing the roads graciously? Letters to the media

"Cycle safely, not aggressively." The Sunday Times Think, 22 May 2011.
Recently, while driving home along Holland Avenue, I noticed two cyclists in front, riding on the right lane of the two-lane road.

They took up the whole lane, and there was a slow-moving bus on the left lane, so none of the motorists behind could overtake them.

When a taxi driver indicated his annoyance, he was met with threatening gestures from one of the cyclists. The rider even stopped and lifted his bike, threatening to throw it at the taxi.

His actions were uncalled for.

This reminds me of an incident earlier this year, when a cyclist tapped on my car window at a traffic junction and accused me of trying to cut him off the road, even though I had earlier tried to change lane to avoid him.

These cyclists should remember that roads here are still meant primarily for the use of motor vehicles.

Cyclists should not 'assert' their claim on road use by flouting the rules or acting aggressively. Such attitudes will not help foster a safer environment for both cyclists and motorists.

Jerry Low

"Cyclists need to play their part too," Today Online Voices, 24 May 2011.
AS A driver, I am happy to see that many motorists are displaying the "1.5m matters. Share the road." stickers as a sign of their awareness of the vulnerability of cyclists.

I also note that many cyclists are using helmets, flashing lights and that some ride defensively by asserting their rights as equal road-users like other vehicles.

However, I have also observed that cyclists, while demanding that drivers observe traffic rules for safety' sake, do not behave like good road-users should.

For example, I have seen on many occasions, cyclists not stopping for a red light when there are no oncoming cars. Also, many ride side-by-side and take up the whole lane instead of riding in a single file.

I feel that there is more than enough room on our roads for all types of vehicles, including bicycles. But cyclists need to realise that they too are subject to traffic rules that are there for both their safety and mine.

Danny G Tan

"'Raging bulls' on park connectors." The Straits Times Forum Online, 24 May 2011.
I HAVE had some harrowing experiences with speeding cyclists on park connectors recently.

Some park connectors have pictures of bicycles and feet painted on them to encourage cyclists and pedestrians to keep to their side of the road for safety reasons.

In the latest encounter, I was jogging on the extreme right side of the park connector, designated for pedestrians. A cyclist came headlong towards me at top speed and braked unwillingly just centimetres away, after realising that I was not going to be able to avoid him. I was shell-shocked.

He seemed to be swearing in a foreign language, given the disgusted expression on his face, and cycled off at top speed again. In another incident I witnessed, a toddler wandered away from his parents and stepped unknowingly into the path of a speeding cyclist. The cyclist managed to avoid the toddler in time, but instead of slowing down or apologising, he continued on his way and shouted out to people to "be careful".

I am deeply saddened by these errant cyclists who do not care about the safety of others. Such encounters seem to be on the rise, and I feel the stress of constantly looking out for these "raging bulls".

If we ban cyclists from park connectors, that will be an injustice to people who cycle at a leisurely pace. If we install speed sensors along park connectors to catch and fine speeding cyclists, that would take time and money, and probably a lot of convincing of the authorities.

Therefore, I appeal to all cyclists to slow down on park connectors that are shared by pedestrians.

In land-scarce Singapore, where park connectors are no more than 2m to 3m wide, speeding can be dangerous for both pedestrians and cyclists. I am sure no cyclist would want to inflict grievous hurt on others and injure themselves in the process.

Pedestrians are not always beyond reproach and should also do their best to stick to their side of the road.

A little courtesy goes a long way.

Lau Pei Yng (Miss)

"Ensure cyclists learn traffic rules." The Straits Times Forum, 24 May 2011.
OF LATE, there has been a strong push towards safeguarding cyclists on Singapore roads. I am happy to note that there has been an observable increase in tolerance by motorists for cyclists. Nonetheless, I feel the situation can be improved further.

I acknowledge that most cyclists do obey traffic rules. However, I have also seen a few, particularly in suburban neighbourhoods, who risk their lives by choosing to switch between being a road user and a pedestrian as and when it is to their convenience. This presents a degree of uncertainty that can lead to unfortunate incidents.

One weekend, I witnessed a young couple on separate bicycles, with children in tow, making a right turn at a junction, then steering left onto the pavement adjacent to the traffic light. There was a taxi behind, but thankfully it was travelling at a slow speed or else it might have run them down.

I have witnessed a few similar cases. If we are to have safer roads for all users, it seems only logical to institutionalise the learning of traffic rules by cyclists, and if need be, some degree of enforcement.

After all, if other road users are required by law to sit and pass the highway code test before they can take to the road, what more for the most vulnerable group out there?

Ivan Lee


Anonymous said...

on many roads, the only safe way for a cyclist to ride is in a lane, and far enough into it to make that cars have to change lanes to overtake. riding on the left edge is too dangerous (and riding on the pavement is illegal).

that said, common sense is needed--only a fool would try to cycle in a lane on the roads around bukit timah or bishan where the cars regularly do 90 kph.

regarding park connectors, i've ridden the east coast park and changi coast rd bike paths many times, and it's just as frequent to find a pedestrian or jogger in the bike lane on the sections that have clearly separated foot and bike paths. such people are frequently completely oblivious (on their mobile, usually) and ignore even bells and yelling.

Anonymous said...

Some months back I had a bad experience while driving down the road of Upper Pierce Reservoir. My family with 2 young children had a picnic there and we were on our way home. When we passed half the journey down towards Thomson Rd, we met a Caucasian cyclist. He was riding leisurely ahead occupying the middle of the 2 lane road and there were no other vehicles on that straight stretch of the road. Patiently we waited hoping he would steer to his right and away from the slope to allow our car to pass through, he did not. My family eventually crawled for about 15 minutes. When we were nearing the opening where the road widened up, I signalled to overtake. At that point the cyclist turned his head and put up his middle finger. I was dumb founded to find a civilised, well-geared man showing such gesture instead of thanking us for putting up with him.
I think the authority should impose some rules for cyclists on the road so they don’t have the impression that they always have the right of the way.

Anonymous said...

On the issue of park connectors, it is true that joggers are also guilty of running on the cycling side of the road. This increases the danger to everyone because if a cyclist was keeping to his side of the road, and was being obstructed by a jogger in front of him, he might need to swerve to avoid this jogger, and might then inadvertently hurt some other joggers on their side of the road.
Hence, it is important for everyone to be more civic minded.

However, having said that, a jogger on the wrong side of the road will never be as dangerous as a cyclist going at top speed on a park connector, whether he's on the right or wrong side. There is no place for speeding on park connectors. That was the point of the article.

Anonymous said...

When the road is too narrow for cars or buses to overtake the cyclists in front, I have seen cyclists stopping by the side of the road to allow faster moving vehicles to pass before continuing with their rides. This happens on many occasions. I also had the experience of encountering some cyclists, mostly non-local, who continue cycling at their own pace, causing a jam behind them in such narrow roads. To honk at them to give way is considered to be rude and inconsiderate because in their countries, these cyclists only want equal rights as any motorists on the road but the inconveniences they caused to people caught in the slow traffic behind them for them is a non issue