Thursday, June 02, 2011

When on footpaths, cyclists should not be ringing bells at pedestrians

Personally, I don't give way to cyclists who ring at me on footpaths. Cyclists should travel at the speed of pedestrians and not be ringing their bell at anyone on foot. If you want to travel faster, get on the road.

"Victim of bike rage," letter to Todayonline from Harshal Patil, 02 Jun 2011.
"I became a victim of bicycle rage on Monday. A friend and I were walking on a footpath from my workplace at the Changi Business Park (CBP) when I heard a bicycle bell ringing behind me.

As I moved to give way, I felt a bump as the cyclist hit me. He rode on but not without first telling me that it was my fault as he had rung his bell.

I ran and caught up with this person at the traffic light. He argued that he was justified in assuming the footpath belonged to him and in bumping into anyone who did not move fast enough.

I was able to identify him as a foreign national. As a foreigner myself, I feel ashamed that such people are perpetuating the negative stereotypes of foreigners with his rudeness

Perhaps the relevant authority could post circulars clarifying the rules of using bikes on footpaths. Such circulars should especially be posted in all CBP offices where many foreign nationals work. Specifying a hefty deterrent fine and clarifying which authority can impose such a fine is also important.

That way, next time, this person will think twice before hitting someone else."

More letters appeared in the days that followed.Right of way?

"Two-wheeled speedsters," letter from Clair Elaine Jerusha Devan. Todayonline, 03 Jun 2011.
"I REFER to the letter "Victim of bike rage" (June 2). We were walking back home from the coffee shop. As my mother is 77 years old, she walks rather slowly and I was holding her arm. We heard the loud ringing of a bicycle bell and could tell a cyclist was fast coming up behind us.

I was unhappy that he was speeding on a pathway close to a playground and a park with an exercise area for the elderly. As we did not move aside quickly enough, the cyclist swerved around us and shouted "S-T-U-P-I-D".

Disappointingly, it was a boy aged about 10 to 12.

In the same area, a child was once knocked down and hurt by a young cyclist also speeding along the pathway.

We also encounter cyclists who ring their bell at us within the void deck, and take for granted that they have right of way wherever they ride. One can't take a peaceful stroll in the company of an elderly person or a young child, without being rung at.

There are no easy solutions - perhaps a neighbourhood watch group looking out for errant cyclists?"
"Who should give way?" Letter from Joanne Tan. Todayonline, 03 Jun 2011.
"I LIVE in Jurong West, where there are many cyclists. Often, when I am walking with my two children on the footpaths, we have to dodge cyclists travelling at high speed. It is difficult to make way for them when I am holding onto my children's hands.

As the bikes have no registration plates, we cannot even make a report if we were to be knocked down by one.

Some of the paths are marked "PCN" (for park connector network). If these are to be shared by cyclists and pedestrians, how do we do so? Who should give way to whom?"

"Dad in coma after bicycle hit him," letter from Kwee Chong Yeo. Today Online, 06 Jun 2011.
"I REFER to the letter "Victim of bike rage" (June 2) by Harshal Patil.

My 63-year-old father was a victim of a bicycle accident on the morning of May 30. As a former stroke patient with renal failure, he was making his way home when he was hit by an 11-year-old boy cycling along the void deck of Block 526, Bedok North St 3.

My father suffered a serious head injury, which warranted an emergency brain operation.

He is currently under observation in the Intensive Care Unit at Changi General Hospital. He remains unconscious and his condition is unstable to this day.

It is extremely worrying to note the lack of effective measures to protect residents from errant cyclists. On the day of the incident, no cycling prohibition signs were observed at the void deck.

I myself have been hit by teenagers cycling at high speed on two occasions at the same block.

I believe further measures, perhaps of a punitive nature, need to be put in place.

We have not heard from the family of the culprit since the incident. We are wondering if they are sending a signal to their child "to keep quiet when you hit someone and hopefully time would heal everything".

"And then there is jogger rage ...," letter from Edwin James Fawcett. Todayonline, 06 Jun 2011.
"IN RESPONSE to the letter on cyclist "road rage" (June 2). I would like to share my experience as a cyclist.

Last month, while I was cycling home from work along the Bedok canal on the designated cycle path, a jogger came straight at me.

Rather than cross onto the pedestrian section to avoid him, I stayed as far right as I could. I waved at the jogger to move across and there was no response. Eventually I had to stop, and as I was about to politely mention that he was in the cycle lane, he punched me in the face.

Now as you can imagine I was a little upset about this, so I dismounted and politely chastised him. He then ran off shouting racial abuse at me.

Having lived in Holland for many years, cycling is second nature to me. It is a little annoying seeing the very bad attitudes of pedestrians towards cyclists. Riding at the East Coast Park for example is a nightmare, with people blatantly walking on the cycle paths without a care in the world."
"Clear rules needed for cyclists," letter from Lynn Tan. TodayOnline, 08 Jun 2011.
"I refer to the letter "Victim of bike rage" (June 2). I myself have had a few near-misses as a pedestrian; my husband pulled me out of a cyclists' way in the nick of time.

I have witnessed a number of bike rage incidents recently. In one, a cyclist brandished his bicycle mid-air, threatening to hurl it at a driver and his car. Another time, I saw a cyclist brazenly sticking his arm through the open window of a car at a traffic light junction, gesticulating violently and antagonistically.

Regardless of the circumstances leading to these displays of outrage, such actions are a cause for concern.

On the roads, cyclists argue that they are the more vulnerable group. As such, motorists should give way and exercise caution.

Similarly, on the pavements, pedestrians are the more vulnerable group, so shouldn't cyclists do likewise?

The reason the situation is getting out of hand is because the authorities have persistently shied away from establishing, and more importantly enforcing, some clear ground rules.

With cycling catching on as a sport, both at a competitive and recreational level, it is time the authorities stepped in.

There also needs to be a way of identifying cyclists in the event of such hit-and-run cases, as it is not always possible to physically pursue and nab them, whether you are on foot or on four wheels. "


thomask said...

so a guy on a footpath got bumped by a douchebag on a bike and had a whinge to the paper about it. so what?

what about the 3 cyclists every 2 weeks who are killed or seriously injured by motorists. and how many of those motorists serve any significant jail time?

i challenge you to find out how many pedestrians were hospitalised by cyclists last year. i think you'll find it's in the region of... none.

Sivasothi said...

One wrong doesn’t make the other right. And we needn't wait for a serious injury or accidental death for this to be recognised as a problem. Speeding cyclists expecting right of way on footpaths can easily be a serious problem especially with a greying population. And I don't want to feel afraid on the only tiny refuge I have as a pedestrian. Ditto PCNs. This sort of behaviour makes everyone less interested in the woes of cyclists. Each of us is an ambassador and need to behave and hold attitudes that we want motorists to show towards us, on the roads.

metamorphoenix said...

I know personally of at least two friends who were injured by cyclists on a footpath - one of them an elderly lady who apparently didn't get out of the way fast enough. Maybe she wasn't hospilatised, but the footpath is still for pedestrians, and whether you cycle or push a pram, or roller blade or walk, everyone has a responsibility to other users.

Just don't expect everyone to see your perspective only .... because you obviously don't see theirs.

metamorphoenix said...

I personally know of two people who were knocked over and suffered grazes and bruises -- not enough to send them to the hospital, sure -- but it does not make it right.

We all have a responsibility, either on the road, or on the footpath. Just don't assume your perspective is the only right one. Be responsible and be considerate, whether you be a driver, a cyclist on the road, a cyclist on the path, a blader, a pedestrian or a stroller-pusher.

And it's not always about your 'right' to the road or path -- it's about owning the consequences of your actions.

BlueBaron said...

Cyclists shouldn't be on footpaths at all. Where I come from, we only use foot paths if there is a serious traffic impediment.

However, the fact that many cyclists are using them is a testament to the dangers of riding on the roads. Cars do to cyclists on the roads what the cyclists do to pedestrians on the footpaths. The clear problem is simply a lack of space allocated for cycling.

The LTA says there is not enough space to provide bike lanes on regular roads. I think they don't consider cycling to be a serious method of transportation (whether for pleasure or to actually get somewhere). With bikes getting the squeeze, it's no surprise that cyclists have short fuses, and there are a lot of conflicts between bikes and people and bikes and cars.

thomask said...

@sivasothi - you're right, but this guy needs to get some perspective. are you saying that killing a cyclist is equivalent to 'bumping' a pedestrian? ("two wrongs"?)

@bluebaron "Cars do to cyclists on the roads what the cyclists do to pedestrians on the footpaths." er, no they don't. see above, and my original post.

@metamorpheonix - i CAN see their point, i hate being passed by cyclists without warning on footpaths as much as the next person, and i usually tell them to get on the road or get off and push.

but that being said, i'm lucky, i don't have to cycle up around changi / tuas / sembawang industrial parks just to get to work, with all those trucks screaming past. if i did, i probably WOULD be on the footpath too.

i'm just saying that a 2 tonne car (or 5 tonne truck) hitting a 70kg cyclist at 40-80 km/hr is vastly different from a 70kg cyclist hitting a 50kg old lady at 5km/hr. neither SHOULD happen, but one has vastly worse outcomes than the other, and so many people are whining about the latter instead of the former. it's just weird.

Sivasothi said...

As cyclists, let's acknowledge the point without reserve. It's valid. The other issues? Write a letter, start a discussion. Failure to cleanly acknowledge loses bike commuters sympathy.

thomask said...

ok, you're not getting me. perhaps a better bike "advocate" (though i'm sure he'd hate the name) can make the point better than i can.

XYZ said...

I think we all know that where there is an outlet in the media for the public's participation, it inevitably becomes a place where Singaporeans do what we love to do best: complain. You'll note that this is especially true on the Chinese radio.

Personally, I do not support anyone who rides on the pedestrian path without giving priority to peds. Ringing the bell is not equivalent to suddenly having the right of way.

Sivasothi said...

Everyday Traffic's (fb page) Friday Friendly Feud: Should cyclists be allowed on the sidewalks? - Vote or comment

Francis said...

It is easier for the one behind to avoid hitting the one in front. This is true on the road (driver-cyclist) or on pavement (cyclist - pedestrian). I find bell or horn is confusing and can cause more harm than help. Horn or bell and expect those in front will immediately jump off your way is selfish and totally rude. more:

Francis said...

It is easier for the one behind to avoid hitting the one in front. This is true on the road (driver-cyclist) or on pavement (cyclist - pedestrian). I find bell or horn is confusing and can cause more harm than help. Horn or bell and expect those in front will immediately jump off your way is selfish and totally rude. more:

Kupocity Team said...

Today i meet with a "Gentleman" who is cycling on the Pedestrain walkway on a Road. As usual he started ringing is bl**dy bell.

I am not your puppy that responds to a bell for heavens sake... But fearing for my own safey I moved to the left. Just as the "Gentleman" passed by me. I told him off.

"The Road is Over there, Use it"

Next he slowed down and turned to me with his "gentleman" face and started talking rudely back.

"Do you know i ringed the bell? Do you know how unsafe the road is for me"

I answered back.
"You are on a vehicle and thus should be on the Road, Safety for yourself, How about the danger you present to other pedestrians".

He replied back that he did ring the bell and decided to Ride away. Knowing there is no way he can argue is point anymore.

Can we just do some sort of a citizen's arrest and get this joker Punished by the Law?!?

Anonymous said...

These days many cyclists are even riding up & down overhead bridges like nobody's business.

Anonymous said...

we are almost at the end of 2013 and the problem of rude and inconsiderate cyclists are still as bad or even worse than in 2011. i just got yelled at by a cyclist today, who was raging down the pcn at breakneck speed while i am just a slow pedestrian keeping to the extreme right per pcn etiquette. These men on bikes are hopeless.

Anonymous said...

I am a young mother if an infant. We were on the pedestrian side walk on Joo Chiat road just outside the coralis and parc sea breeze condo. It was a very wide sidewalk. My son was in a stroller and I was holding an umbrella. Basically I was just walking straight on, and not in a zig zag manner, yet a Singaporean uncle in his sixties was riding a bicycle straight at me. He rang his bell and I looked up. He then gave me a chastising look. I was really upset as my son was crying and I was trying to walk as quickly as possible in the hot son. I was definitely just keeping to one side of the side walk with lots of room left for anyone, pedestrian or cyclist to move on. I just lost it and said 'crazy man' for him to hear. Of course he shouted back 'crazy woman' . I wished I could have said something more objective like " you shouldn't be riding on the pedestrian sidewalk".

Arun said...

Guys....I am an occasional 'cyclist' and a frequent 'pedestrian' :). I just think we should not judge cyclists as always on the 'wrong side' some and pedestrians as always the 'victims'. There are many cyclists who fall victims on the road too, and that time their condition is far more worse. Sometimes the traffic in road is so scary that cyclists are forced to use the pavements at times. As long as the cyclist ring the bell and warn us appropriately, what's wrong in giving a way.