Saturday, December 22, 2012
Friday, October 19, 2012
"Inconsiderate mountain bikers at nature reserve".
Letter to The Straits Times, 06 Oct 2012
"I LIVE near the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and I have noticed that mountain bikers tend to shout and urge each other up the biking trails. Increasingly, they also venture up the trails with bright fluorescent headlamps late at night in groups of five to eight at a time.
As many of the species that live in the reserve are nocturnal, this is disruptive to the lives of these species.
It is not merely the job of the National Parks Board to regulate and take punitive measures against this kind of behaviour.
The cycling community should recognise that noise pollution, tramping through the trails in large numbers and cycling at night after the reserve is closed are acts disrespectful to the natural environment.
Cyclists should respect the flora and fauna that is a part of the larger aesthetic and physical experience when cycling at our nature reserves."
Vinita Ramani Mohan (Ms)
"Mountain bikers group on need for night cycling"
Letter to The Straits Times, 15 Oct 15, 2012.
"DESIGNATED mountain biking trails such as the conveniently located and highly accessible Bukit Timah mountain biking trail located near Ms Vinita Ramani Mohan's residence ("Inconsiderate mountain bikers at nature reserve"; Oct 6) see especially heavy usage, as the availability of designated biking trails has not caught up with the sheer number of mountain bikers.
To ease the shortage, as well as the congestion on some of these trails during the weekends, many mountain bikers have taken to riding on weekday nights with LED bike lights and headlamps.
Night riding also allows mountain bikers to experience the same trail in a different setting, effectively doubling the utility of the trail in land-scarce Singapore.
With an urbanised, increasing population, limited forested areas, and land use competition from other recreational activities as well as residential use, we have a situation in which Ms Mohan's residence is located right on the fringe of a major nature reserve, where many nature lovers, including mountain bikers, seek solace.
From our understanding, the Bukit Timah mountain biking trail is situated on the periphery of the nature reserve proper, hence we believe any negative impact is mitigated.
We seek the kind understanding of Ms Mohan and other residents near the biking trail when mountain bikers get too carried away with cheering, flushed with adrenaline from the exhilaration of clearing a highly technical climb.
As the working committee of the Mountain Bike Association (Singapore), we also urge mountain bikers using the Bukit Timah trail to be considerate to residents living nearby, and to observe proper trail etiquette, including not littering, avoiding unnecessary shouting, and cycling only in the designated mountain biking trail."
Mountain Bike Association (Singapore)
"Mountain bikers' expectations in public spaces are unreasonable."
Letter to the Straits Times Forum page, 24 Oct 2012.
"THE reply by the Mountain Bike Association (Singapore) ("Mountain bikers group on need for night cycling"; Oct 15) to Ms Vinita Ramani Mohan's complaint about inconsiderate mountain bikers ("Inconsiderate mountain bikers at nature reserve"; Oct 6) proffered neither an apology for the noise disturbances, nor remorse for possibly endangering the wildlife and vegetation during their night rides in a protected nature reserve.
Instead, the association essentially wanted distressed residents such as Ms Mohan to grin and bear with the noise.
This response belongs to a worrying trend of "me-only" individuals and interest groups who insist on asserting their perceived rights, but are oblivious to the rights of others.
Examples of inconsiderate conduct abound, many of which are already highlighted in the press:
- Drivers of illegally modified vehicles and supercars and motorcyclists who jolt the neighbourhood awake with their loud revving;
- Cyclists who expect motorists to give them a wide berth on the road but are themselves blind to pedestrians;
- Litterbugs who think it is someone else's responsibility to clean up after their uncivil habit; and
- Commuters who blast music from their latest electronic gadgets, never mind that fellow passengers have a right to a peaceful bus or train ride.
I accept that tolerance of minor annoyances is part and parcel of urban life.
However, it is vital that we exercise restraint and social consideration as well.
One man's buzz might well be another's migraine.
Perhaps when Singapore matures as a nation, a greater sense of community will help in raising the levels of social graces and civic-mindedness.
Until then, citizens can only rely on the law, and hope for the rules to be enforced vigorously."
Thursday, September 27, 2012
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Eight question were raised about cycling in the Singapore Parliament and was responded to on Monday, 10th September 2012. Ministry of Transport: MOT - In Parliament, 10-Sep-2012 Parliamentary Secretary for Transport Assoc Prof Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim Replies to Parliamentary Questions on Road Safety and Cycling
Parliamentary Question 8, Ms Irene Ng Phek Hoong: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) whether cycling is included in the Ministry's transport and infrastructure policy; (b) whether the Ministry has planned for the rising number of cyclists on the roads; and (c) whether a comprehensive and coordinated national strategy to promote cycling as a mode of transport will be introduced, including developing bike-friendly infrastructure and a regulatory framework for cycling.
Parliamentary Question 9, Ms Irene Ng Phek Hoong: To ask the Minister for Transport whether the Ministry has conducted a systematic study on how other developed cities with busy roads have integrated cycling into the traffic system with a coordinated network of lanes, road signages, road markings and traffic signals and, if so, what practical lessons have been drawn that can be implemented in Singapore.
Parliamentary Question 10, Dr Janil Puthucheary: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) what measures does the Ministry intend to adopt to increase the safety of cyclists and reduce the risk of accidents on the roads; (b) whether the Ministry foresees a greater proportion of Singaporeans utilising cycling primarily as a means of transport; and (c) if so, how does the Ministry intend to plan for this shift in behaviour.
Parliamentary Question 11, Mr Yee Jenn Jong: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) what is the outcome of the $43 million pilot programme undertaken by the Ministry since 2009 to design and construct dedicated cycling paths in the five selected HDB towns of Tampines, Pasir Ris, Taman Jurong, Sembawang and Yishun; (b) whether there will be a detailed public report on the outcome of the programme; (c) what are the lessons learnt that can be applied to having similar cycling paths or cycling lanes in the rest of Singapore; and (d) what other lessons have the Cycling Facilitation Committee learnt that may be applied to improving safety for both cyclists and other road users.
Parliamentary Question 12, Mr Nicholas Fang: To ask the Minister for Transport given the current regulations requiring motorists to undergo training and testing before being licensed to go on the road, whether it is possible to (i) put in place a similar requirement for all cyclists to undergo training and education on safe road use before being allowed to take to the roads; and (ii) increase information for motorists on how to drive safely in relation to cyclists in order to reduce the number of accidents involving cyclists on Singapore roads.
Parliamentary Question 13, Ms Janice Koh: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) what is the number of reported traffic accidents between pedal cyclists and motorists each year since 2008; (b) how many such fatalities have resulted each year since 2008; (c) what are the main causes of such accidents; and (d) whether there is a need to re-consider calls for bicycle-lane markings or dedicated cycling lanes on our roads to better protect our pedal cyclists.
Parliamentary Question 14, Ms Irene Ng Phek Hoong: To ask the Minister for Transport given the increasing number of cyclists on the roads (a) what are the Ministry's plans for improving road safety for cyclists; (b) whether a campaign will be mounted to change the attitudes of motorists towards cyclists and to condition motorists to look out for them; and (c) whether the Ministry will review the penalty framework for driving offences that cause death to pedestrians and cyclists.
Parliamentary Question 15, Dr Lim Wee Kiak: To ask the Minister for Transport in view of the recent spate of traffic accidents including fatalities involving cyclists and motorists on Singapore roads (a) what measures have been taken in the last five years; and (b) what additional measures are in the pipeline to curb such injuries and loss of lives.
Parliamentary Question 16, Dr Janil Puthucheary: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) how many cyclists were killed in the last five years as a result of traffic accidents; (b) of these accidents, in how many cases were the cyclists deemed to be at fault; (c) whether the Traffic Police will consider publishing a list of cycling accident blackspots; (d) how does the usual punishment for a driver causing the death of a cyclist compare with other criminal offences where a death was unintentionally caused; and (e) whether the Ministry will consider reviewing the $20 composition fine on errant cyclists who are found to have flouted rules.
Reply by Parliamentary Secretary for Transport Assoc Prof Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim to Parliamentary Questions on Road Safety and Cycling
"Mr Speaker Sir, I thank Members for their questions on cycling."
Building a Network of Off-Road Cycling Paths
2. In recent years, recognising its increasing popularity, my Ministry has taken active steps to facilitate cycling as a mode of transport, starting with a $43 million pilot programme in 2009 to construct dedicated cycling paths in 5 selected HDB towns - Tampines, Pasir Ris, Taman Jurong, Sembawang and Yishun. We have since expanded it to 7 towns with Bedok and Changi-Simei coming on board. Now, under our National Cycling Plan and with the support of our partner agencies, we will also be rolling out basic cycling infrastructure in all new developments - in the Marina Bay area, new housing estates, as well as during major estate upgrading programmes under the Remaking our Heartland (ROH) initiative by HDB.
3. These plans take time to roll out but already, we have provided 6.4 km of dedicated cycling paths in the first 5 cycling towns. By 2014, this will increase to well over 50 km in our HDB towns. In addition, LTA has recently provided 1.5 km of cycling paths along the perimeter roads of the new Gardens by the Bay, and the plan is to provide up to 16 km of cycling paths in the Marina Bay downtown area as the area develops.
4. These cycling paths that we are building are dedicated off-road paths, allowing us to segregate cyclists from on-road vehicles, as well as separating pedestrians from cyclists. We are investing in such cycling paths as they are safer for cyclists of all proficiencies, cater to the most number of users, and are generally planned to cater to short intra-town cycling trips, for example to key amenities and transport nodes like MRT stations and bus interchanges.
5. We recognise that some cycling commuting trips are made between towns. For these less prevalent trips, we will look into linking up the intra-town cycling paths. Where appropriate, we will capitalise on the Park Connector Network, which will eventually allow us to achieve a larger, safe cycling network that can cater to longer-distance travel.
6. There have also been calls for the Government to do more for on-road cycling. In Singapore, land is a scarce commodity and, I dare say, road space is even scarcer. Most of our roads today are optimally sized for traffic conditions, and adding a dedicated lane for non-motorised traffic would require additional land, or the narrowing of existing vehicle lanes, with attendant adverse traffic impact. Given our circumstances, we have therefore prioritised off-road cycling, which is safer and can cater to greater numbers of people.
I hope that Members and Singaporeans will understand that there will be these trade-offs, and that the Government is unable to accommodate all the wishes of all small communities, but must think of larger, overall needs. However, within reasonable limits, we can see if there are specific locations where we can do more for on-road cycling.
7. LTA has studied many cities that have attempted to integrate cycling as part of their traffic systems. Every city has a different approach, influenced by factors such as population density, quality of public transport, land availability, cycling culture, traffic speed, and so on. Some cities in China, Denmark and the Netherlands take a similar approach as us where cycling lanes are essentially separated and protected from vehicular traffic, while cities in the US and UK have implemented unprotected cycling lanes, which are regarded as being less safe. We will continue to study other cities’ approaches, and are prepared to pilot some of their ideas where feasible.
Accidents Involving Cyclists
8. Members expressed concerns about traffic accidents involving cyclists. The total number of reported fatal and injury accidents where cyclists are involved has declined by 17% between 2008 and 2011. Cyclists were found to be at least partly at fault for about half of these accidents. The number of cyclist fatalities averaged 18 per year over the same period from 2008 to 2011. Since the beginning of this year, there have been 11 cyclist fatalities.
9. Every fatality, cyclist or otherwise, is one too many, and I share Members’ sentiments that we should minimise them. All road users, be it cyclists, motorists or pedestrians, need to play their part in this. The common causes of accidents attributable to cyclists or other road users include “failing to keep a proper look-out”, “disobeying traffic light signals”, and “failing to give way to traffic with the right of way”. The Cycling Facilitation Committee (CFC), started by Mr Teo Ser Luck, recognised that public education is key in shaping cyclists’ behaviour. The CFC advocates a community-led approach to do so, and the volunteer cycling wardens that you see in some HDB towns is part of this approach.
10. Members asked if the Traffic Police should require cyclists to undergo training and education on safe road use before being allowed to take to the roads.
Since the profile of cyclists ranges from school children to senior citizens, from foreign workers to persons who pursue cycling as a sport, the Traffic Police’s approach is to engage cyclists within the different groups and impart relevant knowledge on safe road use to them through targeted platforms, rather than instituting a formal training and licensing regime.
Efforts have been stepped up to educate the community on safe cycling practices and road rules. In the first half of 2012, 150 sessions of road safety talks in schools, workers’ dormitories and at community-level events have been conducted, and 15 safe cycling exhibitions were held. At these events, “Safe Cycling Guides”, containing information on proper riding apparel, safe cycling and road sharing tips, are distributed to participants.
A recent collaboration between the Traffic Police and the Singapore Sports Council included the production of a 10-minute safe cycling video entitled “Gear Up! Safety begins with me”. LTA will also be producing an “Intra-Town Cycling” handbook as a reference for good cycling etiquette and to share safety tips. I am taking a personal interest in this area and will work with key stakeholders and relevant Government agencies to see if more can be done to improve safety.
11. Motorists, during learner driver training, are taught various safety considerations towards cyclists on the roads. Drivers are taught to give ample room to cyclists, especially when passing them. Drivers are also taught not to make sharp turns at corners, and to slow down and give way to vulnerable road users, which include cyclists. It is a strict requirement for learner drivers to check their blind spots before making a lane change or a turn. This is to ensure that drivers are aware of any motorcyclists and pedal cyclists who might be riding alongside.
We have noted the suggestions raised by Members and are studying further education measures with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the Traffic Police to inculcate a safe road sharing mindset amongst motorists and cyclists alike.
12. On the enforcement front, the Traffic Police will continue to maintain ground presence to ensure that cyclists and motorists abide by traffic rules. Firm action will be taken against those who display dangerous road behaviour such as driving or riding without due regard to the safety of others. We also urge cyclists to recognise their own vulnerability in relation to motorised traffic.
13. Members asked about the penalties for errant motorists and cyclists. A driver who unintentionally causes the death of a person in a road traffic accident may be charged under the Penal Code or the Road Traffic Act depending on the circumstances of the case and the degree of culpability. A convicted driver will be punished with an imprisonment term of up to 5 years, or with a fine, or both. These persons will also be disqualified from driving for a period of time.
14. Similar considerations are applicable to other types of criminal offences where a death was unintentionally caused and where the person is also charged under the Penal Code. The Police periodically review its penalty framework for all offences, and will continue to monitor the situation carefully.
15. Cyclists who flout traffic rules will be issued summonses. Depending on the circumstances, a cyclist may be offered a composition amount of $20 for the offences. In the case where a person was hurt, the cyclist may be prosecuted in Court under the Penal Code for endangering the safety of others by rash riding, and they will face larger fines or even imprisonment. MHA and the Traffic Police are reviewing the cycling penalties to ensure that they are commensurate with the severity of the respective offences, and will announce the findings when their review is completed.
16. To sum up, we will continue to give priority to our efforts to develop off-road cycling paths to facilitate intra-town cycling. We will also review if we can do a little more on the infrastructure front to facilitate on-road cycling. Beyond infrastructure, it is also important for us to inculcate good cycling habits and responsible driving through public education supplemented by an effective regulatory regime. It is my hope that over time, we will be able to engender a good cycling and driving culture that allows for mutual understanding, basic courtesy and more importantly a safe environment for all road users.
17. In the coming months, I intend to meet more of the different stakeholders to better understand their viewpoints and to see whether we need to review the approach that we have taken and the provisions we have made to facilitate cycling in Singapore.
The number of accidents involving cyclists injured or killed has gone down by 17 per cent between 2008 and last year.
Still, every fatality is one too many, Parliamentary Secretary for Transport Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim said as he outlined measures to keep cyclists safe in response to six MPs' questions.
These include a $43 million project to build dedicated off-road paths for cyclists in seven neighbourhoods. These paths are primarily for cycling within towns, to the nearest MRT station or market, for example.
Member of Parliament (Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC) Janil Puthucheary asked if the Government would consider putting in more resources and funds into the safety of those who cycle on the roads.
"No matter how many cycle paths we build, there will always be on-road cycling. There just isn't the possibility of building enough cycle paths," he said.
In response, Dr Faishal, who is is leading a public consultation on road safety and cycling, said cycling behaviour was affected by many things.
"One of the factors to provide safe cycling is to have separate off-road cycling. Beyond that, we will continue to educate the public, not only the cyclists, motorists and beyond, to see how they can care for one another," he said.
Among the educational initiatives the Government has undertaken are enlisting the help of volunteer cycling wardens, conducting road safety talks in schools and worker dormitories, and holding safe cycling exhibitions. The Land Transport Authority is also producing a new handbook on good cycling etiquette and safety tips for those cycling within their neighbourhood.
Monday, September 10, 2012
SINGAPORE : The government will continue to develop off-road cycling paths for intra-town cycling, and see if it can do more on the infrastructure front to make it safer to cycle on the roads.`
Cycling penalties are also being reviewed to ensure that they are commensurate with the severity of offences.
Parliamentary Secretary for Transport, Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, highlighted these points in Parliament on Monday, amid calls for the government to do more to make the roads safer for cyclists.
48-year-old David Belette was hit by a car while cycling along East Coast Service Road recently. The company director suffered multiple injuries, including a broken neck and knee cap, as well as ribs. He is recovering but fears he may never be able to cycle again.
Mr Belette said: "We all want to use the roads. We all want to get to work safely. We all want to see our families safely. So I think the only way we are going to achieve that is when cyclists start to obey all of the traffic rules, and then the motorists see this, and then the motorists understand and realise that the cyclists have also got rights and they are also road users."
Giving an update in Parliament on Monday, Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal said the total number of reported fatal and injury accidents where cyclists are involved fell by 17 per cent between 2008 and 2011.
Cyclists were found to be at least partly at fault for about half of these accidents. The number of cyclist fatalities averaged 18 per year over the same period from 2008 to 2011. Since the beginning of this year, there have been 11 cyclist fatalities.
Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal considers every injury as one too many.
He recognises that public education is key in shaping cyclists' and motorists' behaviour.
The Ministry of Home Affairs and the Traffic Police will be studying further education measures to inculcate a safe road sharing mindset.
Meanwhile, the Land Transport Authority will be producing an Intra-Town Cycling handbook as a reference for good cycling etiquette and to share safety tips.
Recognising the increased popularity of cycling, the Transport Ministry has taken steps to make cycling a safe mode of transport.
It started a S$43 million pilot programme in 2009 to build dedicated cycling paths in five HDB towns - Tampines, Pasir Ris, Taman Jurong, Sembawang and Yishun.
The government is also looking into linking up intra-town cycling paths as some cycling commuting trips are made between towns.
The cycling paths that are being built are dedicated off-road paths - keeping cyclists separate from vehicles on the road, as well as separating pedestrians from cyclists.
For certain quarters in the cycling community, these may not be enough.
Francis Chu, co-founder of LoveCyclingSg, said: "It does not solve the everyday issue of a lot of cyclists. They are using the roads to go to work, to go to the market, or to have a cup of tea with their friends, and even though there are no provisions at this moment, you can see a lot of people are using the roads, and we feel that to help this group of people, it would be good if we can start thinking about on-road cycling and treat it more seriously."
But the government is unable to accommodate all the wishes of small communities, and must think of overall needs.
Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal said: "In Singapore, land is a scarce commodity and road space is even scarcer. Most of our roads today are optimally-sized for traffic conditions and adding a dedicated lane for non-motorised traffic would require additional land, or the narrowing of existing vehicle lanes, with attendant adverse traffic impact. Given our circumstances, we have therefore prioritised off-road cycling, which is safer and can cater to greater numbers of people."
He said the government will see if there are specific locations where it can do more for on-road cycling.
The Transport Ministry is also looking at ways to raise awareness on safe road-sharing among motorists and cyclists.
The findings will be announced when its review is completed.
For the roads to be safer, Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal said everyone must develop an attitude of caring for one another. And in the coming months, he intends to meet the cyclists, motorists and pedestrians to see if there is a need to review the approaches taken to ensure safe cycling in Singapore. - CNA/ms
Saturday, September 08, 2012
Cyclists and their safety are among the top issues likely to be discussed when Parliament sits on Monday. MPs have filed nine questions on the topic, such as what more will be done to protect cyclists, how to integrate cycling into the traffic system, and whether cyclists will have to undergo road safety training.
Dr Janil Puthucheary (Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC), who wants to know how the Government plans to address the rise in cycling in Singapore, told The Straits Times: “Cycling as a mode of transport has not been adequately addressed."
MPs also continued to table questions on the controversial purchase of the Brompton bicycles by Nationals Parks Board, while some are asking about other issues like governance of Singapore’s interbank lending rate and the funding of Malay/Muslim organisations.
Six bills have also been tabled for debate on Monday. They include proposals to scrap pensions for the President, political holders and MPs, as well as tougher laws for errant employers of foreign workers.
The parliament debate on coming Monday will be closely watched by people who care about the development of road safety facilities for cyclists. There are nine cycling related questions filed from different MPs, including Ms. Irene Ng (Tampines) and Dr Janil Puthucheary (Pasir Ris-Punggol).
I really hope the government will not use the same blanket statement (in land scarce Singapore..) to brush off the questions.
LCSg did some road measurement and discovered, there are more than a few roads have excessive road space enough to cater for safer cycling space, by shifting the double yellow line a little bit away from the curb. This will help to moderate the car speed and improve the safety of all road users in residential area.
In fact, if space limitation is the real reason, it should be more logical to encourage cycling and discourage driving, since the car is by far more space-hungry than the bicycle.
Thursday, September 06, 2012
It’s like Earth Hour, only more useful.
It’s like a critical mass ride, only effective.
The world’s biggest, completely unorganised, mass cycling rally will happen wherever you are, on Tuesday March 20, between 6 and 7 pm. Why?
Because you will be riding your bike.
Come on people! Let's get together and make a revolution of an amazing nature, even if you are not a regular cyclist you can always:
RIDE MORE! DRIVE LESS!
Spread the word and invite as many people as you can! :)
Bike Hour at FaceBook
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
- 27 Aug 2012: 3.00pm - 6.00pm and
- 03 Sep 2012: 9.30am - 3.00pm.
The NUS Eco-Route will be unveiled at UTown's Plaza on 3rd September 2012.
See details at studentry.sg.
See also NUSbike on Facebook.
Thanks to Low Pei Yee and Hua Yong for the links on facebook.
Parliamentary Secretary for Transport, Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim to meet stakeholders - "we should certainly be prepared to have an open mind"
SINGAPORE: Parliamentary Secretary for Transport, Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, intends to meet various stakeholders to discuss how roads can be made safer.
In his Facebook posting on Tuesday, Dr Faishal said he was saddened by the death of Mr Freddy Khoo.
Mr Khoo was cycling along Loyang Avenue with two friends over the weekend when a lorry crashed into them. He was severely injured and died in hospital.
Dr Faishal will also discuss with fellow MPs who are passionate about cycling.
One of them is Minister of State for Trade and Industry, Teo Ser Luck, who said more can be done to ensure safety of cyclists on the road. Mr Teo added it's time to take a fresh look on past measures that were proposed but rejected.
Francis Chu is the co-founder of a local cycling group LoveCyclingSg.
Mr Chu rediscovered cycling as a form of commuting eight years ago. The 52-year-old sold his car and his bicycle has been his main mode of transport since then.
He's part of the cycling community who's been urging the government to consider having a dedicated cycling lane on some roads.
They suggest that these dedicated cycling lanes could be located along the more popular cycling routes such as Neo Tiew Road.
Such lanes need only be about 1.5m wide.
Mr Chu said: "There isn't any physical construction we need to make, we just need to re-paint the lanes. In a way, all the lanes need to be re-painted from time to time because they wear off. If it's a cost issue, why not we just implement it when the lanes need to be re-painted, then we re-paint on a new position."
Motorists have mixed views about dedicated cycling lanes.
One said: "It depends on which road and how big the road is. So as long as they don't get too close to the motorists then it's still okay."
Another said: "Not viable. There're already traffic jams and then you have to cater one more lane for cycling. I think in congested area it's not feasible."
Cycling groups have also identified roads which could pose a hazard for cyclists.
They include Lentor Avenue and Upper Jurong Road which have heavy traffic.
Balestier Road is one of the danger spots highlighted by cycling groups because of the busy traffic where a left lane is sometimes occupied by vehicles parked illegally.
Motorists and cycling enthusiasts agree that all road users should be mindful of safety and be considerate.
"A pledge to do more for cyclist safety," by Sumita Sreedharan. Today Online, 22 Aug 2012.
SINGAPORE - Despite a steady decline in recent years in the number of accidents involving cyclists, policymakers have pledged to do more to improve the safety of cyclists on the roads following the death of bank employee Freddy Khoo, 48, over the weekend.
Mr Khoo was cycling along Loyang Avenue with two friends last Saturday when a lorry collided with them. He died from his injuries in hospital.
On his Facebook page, Parliamentary Secretary for Ministry of Transport Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim said he would be consulting various stakeholders "in the coming months".
"There have also been other fatal accidents in the past, and a death is always one too many. I believe our roads can be made safer," he added.
Responding to TODAY's queries, the Traffic Police said that there were 182 accidents involving cyclists in the first six months of this year.
During that period, 190 cyclists and pillion riders died or were injured in accidents. Between 2009 and last year, the numbers on both counts have fallen steadily, according to statistics provided by the Traffic Police.
Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal said he will build on the various cycling initiatives, especially those put in place by former Senior Parliamentary Secretary (Transport) Teo Ser Luck. Said Assoc Prof Muhammad Faishal: "Where we can make improvements or if there are feasible ideas which can be tried out, we should certainly be prepared to have an open mind."
Writing on his Facebook page, Mr Teo, who is now Minister of State for Trade and Industry, urged a "fresh look on the past measures that were proposed but rejected".
In the wake of Mr Khoo's death, two impassioned open letters were addressed to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew to improve the safety of cyclists on the roads. Tampines GRC MP Irene Ng also called for "urgent action to crack down on dangerous driving while improving the training of motorists to look out for cyclists".
Safe Cycling Taskforce President Steven Lim told TODAY that the problem lies with the mindset of road users here. "A lot of seasoned riders have ridden in Malaysia and will tell you it's safer to ride in Malaysia," he said, "You can't say it's the infrastructure in Malaysia that makes the difference as its comparable to what we have here."
Parliamentary Secretary for Transport, A/Prof Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim wrote on his Facebook page on 21 Aug 2012:
"When I was told that I will be appointed Parl Sec in MOT, Minister Lui had asked me to help him to take charge of a few areas under land transport. For a start, these would include local connectivity issues such as covered linkways to public transport nodes, requests for lifts at Pedestrian Overhead Bridges, road safety issues, and cycling issues. I am already being briefed on some of these issues.
Specifically on cycling, and on the related issue of road safety, I am saddened by Mr Freddy Khoo’s death. There have also been other fatal accidents in the past, and a death is always one too many. I believe our roads can be made safer, and this calls for both motorists and cyclists to observe traffic rules and drive/cycle in a safe and considerate manner. I intend to meet the various stakeholders, including interest groups from cyclists, motorists and even pedestrians - who have also expressed some concerns about their safety with more cyclist-pedestrian interactions. I will also discuss and seek inputs from my fellow MPs who are passionate about cycling.
I will be making these consultations in the coming months. I will also build on the various cycling initiatives which have been done in the past, especially under Mr Teo Ser Luck’s leadership when he was Senior Parl Sec in MOT, who had done much to promote cycling as a mode of transport. Certainly, where we can make improvements or if there are feasible ideas which can be tried out, we should certainly be prepared to have an open mind and either implement or start with some pilots."
"Goverment seeking views on cycling safety on roads," by Jessica Lim. The Straits Times, 22 Aug 2012.
Cyclists, drivers and pedestrians are to be asked for their views on road safety in a public consultation announced on Tuesday.
The move comes after a 48-year-old bank worker died on Saturday when a lorry hit his bicycle, in a case that prompted calls for better anti-accident measures.
Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Transport Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim told The Straits Times that the consultation could lead to pilot projects, but stopped short of calling it a policy review.
He added that Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew had told him to take a fresh look at the issues of road safety and cycling, which were both priorities.
"We want to ensure that all views are considered," he said.
"We want to have an open mind and see how we can implement some of the findings."
There are likely to be several consultation sessions, each of which may last over an hour and be attended by representatives from the Land Transport Authority (LTA). No dates have been set.
Mr Teo Ser Luck, an MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC and an avid cyclist, alluded to the consultation on Tuesday in a Facebook post asking for measures rejected in the past to be relooked. "It takes all stakeholders to work together to make a difference," he wrote.
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Left: Mr Freddy Khoo's bicycle was mangled after a fatal accident with a lorry on Loyang Avenue. Right: Avid triathlete Freddy Khoo, 48, died on Saturday morning after a lorry collided with him and two biking buddies.
The latest fatal accident involving a cyclist has spurred the cycling community to come together to lobby for safer roads for cyclists.
Two impassioned open letters were addressed to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew in the wake of the death of Mr Freddy Khoo over the weekend.
At least one Member of Parliament (MP), Ms Irene Ng, also wrote about the issue on Facebook yesterday afternoon.
Mr Khoo, 48, a bank employee, was cycling along Loyang Avenue with two friends at about 6.50am last Saturday morning when a lorry collided with them.
He was severely injured, and later died in Changi General Hospital. His companions escaped with abrasions, reports said.
Ms Ng, an MP for Tampines GRC, told my paper yesterday afternoon that the recent incident left her "outraged and frustrated".
Ms Ng said that since she became an MP in 2001, she has been lobbying for a coordinated national effort to promote safety on the roads for cyclists, and to improve infrastructure and regulatory framework for cycling.
"But because it is an issue that cuts across several ministries and requires coordinated action, it seems to fall between the cracks, with no real progress," she said.
Still, she said on Facebook that she was heartened that her calls for greater safety have received support. "In earlier years, I sometimes felt like a lone voice in the wilderness, often criticised by those who didn't believe that cyclists have a place on our roads," she added.
Meanwhile, the cycling community has rallied together in the wake of the tragedy.
One of the letters, written by Facebook user Adriane Lee to PM Lee, has received more than 45 endorsements so far.
The writer, who signed off as a 36-year-old marketing executive, called for both motorists and cyclists to be educated on their rights and behaviour on the roads.
Citing Mr Lee's call for an "inclusive society" in the recent National Day Message, the letter said all road users - motorists or otherwise - should co-exist peacefully.
The other letter, written by Mr Stephen Choy, a friend of Mr Khoo's, has been shared over 1,800 times on Facebook since it was posted last Saturday.
According to data from the Department of Statistics, there was a total of 11 cyclist deaths from January to May, up from seven in the same period last year.
Just last Thursday, a 65-year-old cyclist died in a collision with a car in Jurong East.
Mr Than Chen Munn, a committee member of the Safe Cycling Task Force, said the number of cyclist fatalities is high, and that more needs to be done to study the causes of the accidents to prevent further deaths.
"It shouldn't just be a statistic... Right now, what's the recourse? It's just voices. Every time a sport cyclist dies, everyone makes a lot of noise, but it dies down after a week. What's next?" asked Mr Than, 37.
"There are people out there trying to advocate things but, if the authorities don't do anything, what else can they do?"
Mr Khoo is survived by his wife, Ms Tiffany Koh, who is about five months pregnant, and a six-year-old son, reports said.
- "Cyclist dies in crash with lorry," by Royston Sim. The Straits Times, 19 Aug 2012; "Lorry driver jailed for causing cyclist's death along Loyang Avenue," by Elena Chong. The Straits Times, 25 Feb 2013. link
- "An Open Letter to the Minister of Transport, Mr Lui Tuck Yew" by Stephen Choy. 19 Aug 2012 link
- "To Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, let us co exist in peace as road users," by Adriane Lee. 19 August 2012 link
- "Cyclists and MP Irene Ng call for more safety on roads," by Adrian Lim. mypaper, 21 Aug 2012 link
- "Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim to meet stakeholders regarding road safety," by Saifulbahri Ismail, Channel News Asia, 21 August 2012 link
Sunday, August 19, 2012
"Cyclist's friend writes to minister: My friend is dead," by Koh Hui Theng. The New Paper, 22 Aug 2012.
SINGAPORE - Shaken by his friend's death, Mr Stephen Choy wrote an open letter to Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew on Saturday.
"My friend is dead," he said.
"If only I had written this letter earlier, Freddy might still be able to cycle with me in the next Ironman race.
"You see, he died pursuing his hobby."
On Saturday morning, bank employee Freddy Khoo, 48, was cycling with two friends along Loyang Avenue when a lorry collided with them.
A police spokesman said Mr Khoo was the last among the trio to be hit. His buddies suffered abrasions and did not require hospitalisation.
But Mr Khoo had severe injuries and was sent to Changi General Hospital, where he later died.
He leaves behind his pregnant wife Tiffany and a six-year-old son.
An avid triathlete, MrKhoo had taken part in several half-Ironman races. He is a member of different cycling groups including Team Cychos.
On weekends, he would usually start cycling around 6.30am or 7am, Mr Choy, his friend and fellow Team Cychos member, told The New Paper.
Mr Choy, who works in advertising, had passed the accident spot that very morning - he had been in a car heading to Changi Village for breakfast.
"I whipped out my iPad when I saw the wreckage and posted a message on (social network) Facebook to remind all my friends to cycle safe. Within minutes, I received the tragic news, Fred was down," he added.
"The wreckage was that of my friend's."
Speaking to TNP before he attended the wake last night, Mr Choy, 47, recalled: "Looking at the wreckage, at how small the bike had been crushed to... for it to be crushed to that condition, I knew he had been run over.
"Fred did not stand a chance. I heard he was hit from the back."
That was why Mr Choy was moved to pen the letter, which he also sent to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and to his MPs in East Coast GRC.
In it, he implored the authorities to do something to make the roads safer.
"From 2008 to 2011, there were a total of 70 cyclists killed. That is a horrifying average of 1.46 cyclists killed a month," he wrote in his letter.
"Sadly, that is not enough to spur your ministry into action to make the roads safer for cyclists." While both cyclists and motorists have a part to play in making the roads safer, Mr Choy said that government assistance was also needed to help reduce fatalities.
He cited the debate about introducing cycling lanes and quoted a Land Transport Authority spokesman as saying this would give cyclists a false sense of security. (It was Mr Lui who said this in reply to a question in Parliament in March.)
"I was flabbergasted by this flippant and dismissive response... If NParks is able to build 300km of park connectors, surely the LTA is capable of painting a 1.5m lane on our roads...
"Are cyclists not worth that?" he asked. "Surely Freddy and the deaths of 70 other cyclists deserve an urgent re-look at how to make our roads safer."
Mr Choy suggested a pilot scheme to paint only the more popular (and dangerous) cycling routes - Neo Tew Avenue, Mandai Road, Changi Coastal Road, Upper Thompson Road, West Coast Highway.
But he admitted that he does not think anything will come of his action.
"I'm not the first to write this... Hopefully, enough people will circulate it and it'll be enough for them (the authorities) to act."
When TNP visited Mr Khoo's wake, his wife declined to speak to the media. Dressed in white, she cried as she spoke to those who came to pay their respects.
Several men wearing white sat silently at the back of the void deck, staring into space.
A bespectacled man seemed surprised when told about Mr Choy's open letter.
He said: "The authorities should do something about this and improve road safety."
Upon hearing the conversation, another man walked up to talk about the lorry driver, who has been arrested and is helping the police in their investigations.
Mr Choy, who has known Mr Khoo since 2009, usually cycles in the Changi-Loyang area at 5am. He said Mr Khoo preferred to start later, at around 7am.
But that was when traffic would get heavier in the area, with "a lot of trucks zooming towards the cargo complex".
Adding that Mr Khoo had been training for a triathlon, Mr Choy said: "I've raced with Fred twice in Aviva events. It's sad that I won't get the chance to do so any more."
Mr Freddy Khoo's bicycle lying mangled on Loyang Avenue after the accident. Two other cyclists were also hit by the lorry, and they suffered minor injuries. -- PHOTO: FACEBOOK
A cyclist was killed yesterday morning after a collision with a lorry on Loyang Avenue.
Mr Freddy Khoo (left), 48, suffered severe injuries and was taken to Changi General Hospital, where he died later, the police said.
The police received a call at 6.55am about a traffic accident on Loyang Avenue in the direction of Changi Village. The lorry collided into three cyclists, a police spokesman said.
The lorry driver, 30, has been arrested and is assisting police with investigations, she added.
The other two cyclists are believed to have suffered minor injuries in the accident.
Friends described Mr Khoo as an avid triathlete, and someone who was always smiling. He is survived by his wife, who is about five months pregnant, and a son.
Mr Mave Goh, 34, a manager at bicycle shop Soon Watt & Co, has known Mr Khoo for about five years.
Mr Khoo was a customer at Soon Watt, and used to cycle with Mr Goh as part of cycling group Team Cychos.
"Freddy was very into fitness, very disciplined with training and overall a very nice chap," Mr Goh said. He said he heard Mr Khoo was with a group of about four or five cyclists who were not from Team Cychos when the accident happened.
A triathlete who knew Mr Khoo wrote a eulogy on Tumblr, saying: "The greatest impression I have of Freddy is of his smile. Whenever we met, he would always have that infectious, genuine and bright smile of his.
"Never fails to ask me how I was, how my training was going, what race I was targeting next. He was an inspiration to us with his 'can do' attitude."
The accident on Loyang Avenue - a popular route for riders - is the latest in a spate of fatal accidents involving cyclists.
Last Thursday, a 65-year-old cyclist was killed in an accident with a car in Jurong East.
In May, a 25-year-old cyclist died after he was knocked down by a lorry on Changi Coast Road.
The latest accident has triggered further calls for the authorities to make roads safer for cyclists, and dole out harsher penalties to deter would-be errant drivers.
The founders of local cycling group LoveCyclingSg have submitted a plea to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to look into the issue of cycling safety.
Mr Goh of Soon Watt said drivers still lack awareness of sharing the road with cyclists.
He added: "The authorities need to look at drivers' behaviour as a whole, not just towards cyclists. What are they doing about it?"
Mr Steven Lim, president of the Safe Cycling Task Force, advised cyclists to be vigilant, to always stay alert on the road and be aware of what is happening around them.
See also, "An Open Letter to the Minister of Transport, Mr Lui Tuck Yew" by Stephen Choy, 19 Aug 2012.
"Lorry driver jailed for causing cyclist's death along Loyang Avenue," by Elena Chong. The Straits Times, 25 Feb 2013.
Former lorry driver Wang Weiguan, who negligently caused the death of a cyclist along Loyang Avenue, was jailed for four weeks on Monday. He was also banned from driving for five years. -- ST PHOTO: EDWARD TEO
A Chinese national, who negligently caused the death of a cyclist along Loyang Avenue, was jailed for four weeks on Monday. Former lorry driver Wang Weiguan, 31, was also banned from driving for five years.
He had admitted to causing the death of Mr Freddy Khoo Boon Hai, 48, a bank employee, at about 6.50am on Aug 18 last year. Wang failed to keep a proper lookout ahead while travelling straight along the left lane of the road, resulting in the lorry hitting Mr Khoo's bicycle, and causing his death.
Mr Khoo, an avid triathlete, was cycling behind two other friends in a single file at a distance of about 1.5m between each bicycle when he was hit. Wang had failed to notice Mr Khoo's and in his friends and in his panic, he tried to swerve to the right but could not avoid colliding with Mr Khoo.
The other two cyclists - Mr Eugene Low Ju-Sen, 37, and Mr Kevin Quek Weng Yew, 26 - were flung off their bicycles.
As Wang changed to the right lane and stopped his vehicle, he could feel the deceased's bicycle being dragged along the ground underneath the lorry. He could also feel the lorry "running over something''. The vehicle finally came to a stop after moving a distance of at least 28m.
Mr Khoo suffered severe injuries and was pronounced dead about 11/2 hours later.
A second charge of causing hurt to the two cyclists by doing an act so negligently as to endanger life was considered during his sentencing.
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
It should encourage some of us to explore parks in Singapore if you haven’t or have not been doing so for a while. Perhaps, to write too! I want to write about the agony of washing my bike in a HDB flat after a muddy ride!
Visit his blog at http://bicy-cling.blogspot.sg
Photo from Bicy-Cling!
|The new ride. The Aleoca Esecuzion AB2006-EC11|
Aleoca Esecuzion AB2006-EC11,
a review by Marcus Chua (submitted 31 Jan 2012).
I was upset after all my four field survey mountain bikes were stolen, including the old Gary Fisher Wahoo I have owned since Primary 5! Admittedly I had outgrown that bicycle and now I looked around for a new, affordable ride for use during my surveys.
Foldies have always appealed to me for their functionality - portability meets mobility! With my infrequent use and relatively short rides, the bicycle's weight was not terribly important, and the most important criteria really was the bike's capability to survive the mild offroad conditions I require their use in.
For its price, the bike’s specifications are modest. There is a Shimano 6-speed shifter, alloy handle bars and rims, coupled with a steel body on 20” wheels. Design-wise, it’s simple, stylish and functional, but more in a fancy newspaper delivery boy way. Would not be mistaken for an off road adventure monster for sure.
Road and field test
The three minute ride home from NEX back to Bartley Road was fine and the gears helped in battling some slopes. It was comfortable, but did not feel as stable as a mountain bike. However, the real test would be on leopard cat island where the rocks, gravel, sand, mud and grass await.
On my secret off-road test terrain, the Aleoca handled admirably well for a 20-incher, surpassing my expectations. On compacted soil, it performed similarly as on paved road, just slightly twitchy on the uneven bits. Moving onto rougher terrain on full tyres, it (and I) took every bump on stony tracks in stride. It could be the that the twin springs under the seat could have cushioned some of the impact (or the balls of steel). No complaints of the bike over grass either.
I was starting to really like the little thing until sandy tracks came along. The bicycle did fine on normal sandy tracks, however, soft, thick sand on the reclaimed land proved to be a bit of a problem. Perhaps the tyres were a little narrow and the threads too shallow, and as the threads filled with sand, the bike slipped on a few instances. Fortunately, control was not lost and there were no falls or crashes. But with that in mind, I did not dare ride on mud (also partly in fear of dirtying the shiny new frame and chain).
|Me riding the new bike with my eyes closed. Credit: Vilma D’Rozario|
My ever obliging field help, Vilma and Celine also took the bike for a spin. Vilma was impressed enough to want to get her own for her PCN adventures, while Celine proclaimed, “better than walking!” [at that point, I had made them walk more than 2 km in the morning sun] Three thumbs up!
After all the action, folding it is relatively simple and can be done in a minute. This is achieved by first lowering the headset and seat post via adjustment levers, then folding the bicycle by unlocking hinges on the headtube and crossbar.
The entire construction folds to 84 (L) x 59 (H) x 30 (D, at widest point of wheel bases and excluding pedals) cm, which meets LTA guidelines for carriage in Rapid Transit System and public buses. Due to the design, it does not seem possible to wheel or tow the folded bicycle. However, this design oversight can easily be solved by tilting the bike so that it is resting on the front wheel.
The Aleoca Esecuzion is a pretty, functional bike. But most of all, it held up decently compared to the mountain bikes I am used to during my field surveys. I would miss the stability and ruggedness of the old Gary Fisher, but if the pick up is unavailable, the foldie would be hard to beat in terms of portability and mobility for a two person survey - two bikes can fit nicely in a taxi or car boot with space to spare. And if it holds up, nothing can beat the price!
Monday, June 25, 2012
"SINGAPORE: The Land Transport Authority (LTA) is seeking public feedback on its existing and future Land Transport Masterplan.
The plan maps out strategies that will go into formulating the country's transport policies.
The last plan, launched in 2008, saw initiatives such as expanded rail and road networks as well as improved barrier free access to bus and rail stations.
As part of its update, the LTA will gather public views on how the various programmes under the 2008 masterplan can be refined as well as identify new initiatives.
To give feedback, go to this website.
The portal will host online discussion forums and surveys that the public can participate in.
Detailed information on the scope of the consultation process and the 2008 Masterplan is also available.
Alternatively, members of the public can email the LTA at LTA-LTMP@lta.gov.sg.
The LTA said those who participate stand to win an EZ-Link card worth S$10.
Feedback channels will open till 30 September.
As part of the consultation process, LTA will also carry out a series of focus group discussions, after which views will be consolidated and released with the updated masterplan, which is targeted for 2013."
Thursday, June 21, 2012
Group photos are taken on all LCSG rides!
Newbie Evon rushed to join Love Cycling Singapore (LCSG) at Kranji MRT for the Kranji Countryside tour. She had bought a second hand single-speed bicycle and is not a seasoned cyclist - yet.
But she went alone to join a group of strangers, and was welcomed, encouraged and looked after as she tok to the road for the first time, braved some slopes and visited the war memorial, took in the sights of the Johor Straits at Kranji Reservoir and had breakfast at a countryside vegetable farm.
She returned to Kranji MRT to fold up and walk away. Her first ride accomplished, she us ready for more. Read the engaging post about her adventure at the LCSG blog, "Evon’s first LCSG Ride".
Join LCSG as they explore Singapore on relaxed, safe rides around the island.
Photo by Kevin Lim
The Rise of the Foldies, How Singaporeans are re-discovering the freedom of cycling
“Cycling was a liberating experience of our childhood, made possible by a safe environment available to young and unsupervised riders. Through scraped knees and elbows, our skills developed organically with time.
Urbanization has since robbed our streets of their nurturing role in communities. Increasingly crowded roads with fast and large vehicles saw cyclists fade with loss of safe spaces even as we became more sheltered.
But in the past few years, there has been a dramatic change, brought about by the rise of foldies and the extension of the PCNs. Thousands have returned to the saddle and we now ask “how ready is our city to embrace this evolution?”"
This was a 20-minute talk last night given for the blinkBL_NK #22 audience, who saturated the Q&A with questions non-stop, as the organiser had indicated they would.
The talk is in its infancy but even this version 1 was helpful for raising awareness. It can do with revisions and be extended but should certainly be done more frequently. A faster way to gain an appreciation about issues before reading this blog!
You can get some idea of the talk from the slides here.
Video available here.
And I realised the only water point was in the toilet.
Hidayah and Sivasothi chatting while we waited for the taxi company to call us back
Photo by Kevin Lim
So we helped out, with some intense googling using both Google Maps and OneMap, then a forceful conversation with the confused taxi company's phone operator and eventually I directed a very patient taxi driver over the phone - he eventually had to do a U-turn in the farmway roads nearby before finally rescuing the heat-exhausted individual.
I wrote to PUB the following week to suggest a water point be instated outside the toilets. Although I happily filled up my water bottles from the sink there, some might hesitate!
I also suggested they provide a name for the shelter to direct taxi operators to, as well as relevant road signs and even a road name.
PUB's Lau Ying Shan wrote back quite soon after with some updates which I thanked him for:
- The name for the visitor structure is the ‘Educational Kiosk’, or ‘Edu-kiosk’ for short.
- There will be a water cooler at the Edukiosk very soon.
- They will look into the suggestion about a taxi information panel or its equivalent.
- They will investigate clearer road signs (it will be helpful for unfamiliar drivers).
- The address of Lorong Halus Wetland is 326 Lorong Halus, Singapore 536587. This can be found on SLA One Map [the building icon is numbered in OneMap but I probably missed that on the small screen of my iPhone], and also on Streetdirectory.com [which provides a unique entry for the EduKiosk as Lor Halus Kiosk]
Next time I'm there, I'll drop in for a look and provide feedback as required. It's helpful when the public does this as our user-experience can provide managers with helpful suggestions.
This post is late as it was in a forced hibernation in my drafts folder while I forgot about it, whoops!
Sunday, June 03, 2012
Caption: Although bike lanes could help protect cyclists from motorised vehicles, LTA says land constraints here rule them out. - ST Photo: Lim Wui Liang
"Last Monday, some 140 cyclists embarked on a Ride of Silence ending at Changi Coast Road to honour the memory of a fellow rider who died there a few days earlier.
Mr Jude Alphonsus Tan, 25, was cycling with a group of friends when he was knocked down by a lorry on May 26. He died instantly.
Two days after Mr Tan's accident, another cyclist was hit and killed by a van in Senoko South Road.
The two deaths have reignited calls for greater rights and protection on the road for cyclists.
With more and more Singaporeans choosing to cycle as a means of transport or recreation, cyclists say there should be tougher laws to penalise errant drivers, and dedicated bike lanes on roads to keep drivers at a distance.
Cyclists, they say, have every right to be on the road.
Said Mr Steven Lim, president of the Safe Cycling Task Force: 'That's been established long ago, in the Road Traffic Act. Now it's up to road users to recognise and respect that.'
In online forums, cyclists have been blamed unfairly for road accidents involving them, some cyclists said.
Mr Albert Yeo, 46, said that many drivers feel cyclists should stay off the road.
Such views encourage reckless driving, he said.
'Motorists think that I shouldn't be there, so they cut in front of me.'
At least 10 cyclists have been killed in road accidents this year so far. Since 2009, about 16 cyclists have died a year.
There were 16 cyclist deaths in London last year - a city with 7.8 million people to Singapore's 5.2 million. London has bike lanes in some parts of the city.
Cyclists here said that tougher laws may reduce the number of cycling-related deaths. They cited a recent case, where a doctor who killed a cyclist and injured another two years ago was sentenced to four weeks' jail and a five-year driving ban.
He could have been jailed up to two years and fined up to $10,000.
'Drivers have the power to kill,' said Mr Woon Tai Woon, 38, who heads the social group LoveCyclingSG.
'A light sentence gives drivers the perception that they can get away with it.'
Another way may be to introduce dedicated bicycle lanes on roads - though the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said land constraints here rule them out.
What about road markings, the cyclists asked. A reminder for drivers to keep a distance of 1.5m would help protect them, they said.
But LTA said such markings could give cyclists a 'false sense of security'. Traffic Police said a 1.5m gap is a guide which drivers might not always be able to keep to.
For now, there is only patience, and public awareness.
MP Teo Ser Luck, who chairs the Cycling Facilitation Committee set up in 2009 to engage stakeholders on cycling issues, said that Singapore's road culture must shed its tendency towards 'speeding, impatience, and not giving way'.
Cyclists, too, know they must play their part.
Said Mr Woon: 'Even if you have the right of way, you have to cycle safely. When you're up against a car, you can't win.'
COMMON GRIPES FROM DRIVERS
- DRIVERS SAY: Cyclists hog the left-most lane by not keeping close enough to the kerb.
Cyclists should leave themselves enough space from the kerb to manoeuvre, says Mr Bernard Tay, chairman of the Singapore Road Safety Council. Keeping too close to the kerb can be dangerous to cyclists, because of drainage holes and debris. Cyclist groups recommend riding just to the right of the double yellow line.
- DRIVERS SAY: When two cyclists ride side-by-side, they take up too much space on the road.
Under the Road Traffic (Bicycles) Rules, cyclists are allowed to ride two abreast. Cyclists say this can be safer as clumping together makes them more visible to drivers. It also makes for shorter lines than cycling in single file when in large groups; cars that want to turn left will not have to wait as long for the group to pass.
- DRIVERS ALSO SAY: Some cyclists, especially sports cyclists, run red lights, fail to give hand signals when turning and ride in the middle of the lane.
In these cases, drivers have every right to object. By law, cyclists are not allowed to do any of the above.
Thursday, May 31, 2012
"They may not have known him in person.
But a group of cycling enthusiasts got together to ride in honour of their "cyclist brother", who died after being knocked down by a lorry on Saturday.
"Though most of us do not know Jude, he is one of us, our cyclist brother," said Miss Quek Huey Ming, a cyclist who helped facilitate the ride on Monday.
"The cycling community in Singapore has come together to do a ride in his honour."
Mr Jude Alphonsus Tan, 25, had been knocked down by a lorry while riding along Changi Coast Road - a popular cycling route - on Saturday morning. He died on the spot.
Police said they arrested a 39-year-old man.
Mr Tan was believed to have been riding with a group of friends when he was knocked down.
On Monday, the group of more than 100 cyclists began their Open Slow Ride of Silence at 8.30pm in Mr Tan's memory.
The ride, which started at Lorong Halus and was supposed to end at the wake at Marine Terrace Block 54, was eventually redirected when a relative of Mr Tan appealed to the cyclists not to disturb the wake.
Thus, the ride ended at the spot where the accident occurred along Changi Coast Road.
The cyclists who took part in the ride said they respected the family's request.
"The family wants to grieve in private, and we totally respect that," said Derek Leong, 43, a human resource manager.
Very affected by accident
Miss Quek said that the group decided to organise the ride as they were very affected by the accident.
Said Mr Allen Chew, 53, a golf instructor and avid cyclist, who also helped organise the ride: "Hopefully this will create some awareness... that we cyclists should have a right to share the road with motorists."
The New Paper understands from Mr Tan's grandfather, Mr George Tan, 75, that his grandson lived at Tanah Merah, and often went with his friends to Malaysia for sporting activities.
TNP also understands that he has a younger brother and sister, and his parents were overseas when the incident happened.
When TNP went to the wake at Block 54, many of the relatives declined to comment, with one insisting that they wanted the funeral to be a private affair. The family is appealing for witnesses to the accident.
The announcement: "Open Slow Ride of Silence for Jude Alphonsus Tan (2012-05-28)". Dual Circles, 28 May 2012.
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Letter to The Straits Times, Forum Page by Benny Tan, published on 30 May 2012
"I READ with dismay about the death of a cyclist who was hit by a lorry along Changi Coast Road ('Cyclist killed, driver arrested'; Sunday). I later found out that he was an acquaintance from my student days.
Having both ridden and driven along the same stretch of road on numerous occasions, I can attest to the dangerous speeds of some vehicles, especially large trucks and prime movers, travelling on that road.
While safety measures such as road signs alerting drivers to the presence of cyclists have been introduced in recent years, much more can be done to prevent dangerous driving in the area.
For example, in addition to more stringent enforcement of speed limits, companies whose vehicles are known to utilise the road frequently can be directly targeted to remind their drivers to take extra precautions.
Generally, road users in Singapore need to be better educated. I am wont to believe that a straw poll would reveal that many drivers still believe it is illegal for cyclists to be on the road.
Drivers should also be educated about the proper driving behaviour to adopt around cyclists and motorcyclists. Many do not realise that travelling at high speeds next to cyclists causes them to be drawn towards the vehicles.
On the flipside, cyclists, regardless or whether they ride for sport or as a form of transport, should also be educated about safety precautions and proper cycling habits.
More can and should be done, and sooner rather than later. While nobody wants an accident to occur, there is more that we can do to prevent them. Liberties should not be taken when lives are at stake."
"All have part to play"
Letter to The Straits Times, Forum Page, by Steven Lim, President, Safe Cycling Task Force, published on 30 May 2012
"I AM saddened by the death of a cyclist who was hit by a lorry along Changi Coast Road last Saturday ('Cyclist killed, driver arrested'; Sunday).
Changi Coast Road is popular among cyclists, and there are many 'cyclists ahead' warning signs to warn motorists to look out for them.
Drivers need to recognise that cyclists have an equal right to use the road, and to keep a safe distance when overtaking them.
There have been suggestions online that cyclists should not be on the road because they do not pay road tax. But determining who gets to use public facilities does not hinge on how much tax one pays. After all, we also see road tax-paying motorcyclists being squeezed off the roads.
More important is sharing whatever limited resources we have on this tiny island, and looking out for one another.
We advise cyclists to:
- Travel in a proper and safe manner;
- Wear light-coloured clothing;
- Have lights - white in front, and red at the back - on their bicycles;
- Use hand signals to communicate with other road users; and
- Be patient and courteous, as well as adopt safe practices.
We applaud Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean's call to get tough with errant motorists ('Get tough on speeding, reckless driving: DPM'; May 17).
It is time for the authorities to review some of the rules and penalties for law-breaking motorists. It is not just about catching errant drivers like speedsters, but also the penalties they face after being convicted.
Some of the penalties are too light, especially for those who cause deaths through their recklessness.
While no amount of fines and jail terms would bring back a life, the penalties must serve as a deterrent to other motorists.
While rules and penalties may maintain order, it is also important for road users to have the right mindset and attitude. They have to keep themselves and others safe on the roads. It is about being forgiving, friendly and gracious.
"Treat cyclists as equals on the road"
Letter to The Straits Times, Forum Page by Deborah Moore (Ms), published on 30 May 2012"AS A fairly new resident of Singapore and a cyclist, I am disgusted at the callousness of many drivers here who are posting comments on various forums following the horrific death of a cyclist after he was hit by a lorry last Saturday ('Cyclist killed, driver arrested'; Sunday).
I rode that very same stretch of road in Changi just one and a half hours before the accident, so I read of the cyclist's death with a chill in my heart.
What bothers me most, however, is the widespread attitude of drivers here that cyclists do not belong on the road. They think they have more right than cyclists to be on the road because of the high road taxes they pay.
Some comments on the forums include 'why do cyclists have to take up a whole lane?'
Well, we try not to, but it is actually for our own safety. If we squeeze up against the kerb, most drivers will take that as permission to try to squeeze by us in that same lane.
If we ride farther out into the lane, we take up the same width as a car, and drivers are then forced to change lanes to go around us, ultimately making it safer for all.
One other forum user asked why we do not use the park connector networks or coastal pathways.
We avoid these because our speed is faster than that of the pedestrians, dog walkers, elderly people and children using these pathways, and we are mindful of their safety.
Admittedly, some cyclists are less than considerate in their riding formations, for example, travelling three abreast, and do not respect traffic laws, but the majority are just trying to stay healthy by exercising on their bikes."