Tuesday, August 21, 2012

"Cyclists and MP Irene Ng call for more safety on roads" (mypaper)

"Cyclists and MP Irene Ng call for more safety on roads," by Adrian Lim. mypaper, 21 Aug 2012. MP, Ms Irene Ng, also wrote about the issue on Facebook yesterday afternoon.

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.

Related posts
  • "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

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