Thursday, May 31, 2012

Response to Jude Alphonso Tan's death: Ride of Silence

"Cycling enthusiasts ride in honour of 'cyclist brother'," by David Sun. The New Paper, 31 May 2012. The ride ended at the spot where the accident occurred along Changi Coast Road.
"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

Response to Jude Alphonso Tan's death: Letters to the Straits Times Forum Page

"Do more to educate road users on safety"
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."

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Cyclist killed by van, another cyclist and a waiting driver injured at Senoko South Road

A van driver kills a cyclist, injures another cyclist and a waiting car driver along Senoko South Road.

Francis Chu and others in Love Cycling SG have written to Minister of Transport, Lui Tuck Yew. See the Facebook group "Safe Roads For People".

758078 - Google Maps

758078 - Google Maps
Senoko South Road
is a two lane-wide industrial road which typically has large vehicles parked alongside them.

Thanks to Taiwoon of smallwheelbigsmile for the scan of the TNP article.

Taiwoon also reproduces the road casualties statistic from the 2011 Yearbook on his blog.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Jude Alphonsus Tan, RIP

Last Saturday we learnt that a road cyclist was killed on Changi Coastal Road. We now know it was Jude Alphonsus Tan. I did not know him, but have come to learn about his passion for life and his empathy for others.

STOMP - Singapore Seen - Cyclist dies after being hit by lorry at Changi

A heartfelt letter by a former classmate of his has been posted on Small Wheel Big Smile.

RIP Jude.

Update - An Open Ride of Silence was observed by cyclists from the community on Mon 28 May 2012.

The New Paper, 29 May 2012
Jude Alphonsus Tan wake - TNP 29 May 2012
click for larger image

Thanks to smallwheelbigsmile for the scan of the TNP article.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

19.5km of new park connector to create a 30km loop around the nature reserve by 2018

A new 19.5km park connector will link the existing 5.5km bike trail and 5km Mandai Road park connector to create a car-free space for recreational cyclists to loop around the periphery of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve.

30km Park Connector map2
"Bringing nature closer to residents with 30km cycling loop," by Amelia Tan, The Straits Times, 27 May 2012.In the pipeline: 80ha park, viewing towers, 30km cycling loop at central catchment area
Nature buffs will have greater access to flora and fauna in Singapore with a 30km cycling loop to be completed by 2018.

The circuit will go around the Central Catchment Nature Reserve which covers the Upper Seletar, Upper and Lower Peirce, and MacRitchie reservoirs.

It will be formed by joining 10.5km of existing park connectors and biking trails that go around the northern and western borders of Central Catchment Nature Reserve to a new 19.5km park connector. This connector will encircle the reserve's southern and eastern borders.

The new cycling loop was announced on Saturday by Minister of State for National Development and Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin at the launch of the Festival of Biodiversity at the Singapore Botanic Gardens.

He also announced that the Government will be developing a new 80ha park, named the Chestnut Nature Park, just outside of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve.

The park, which will be ready by 2015, will have forest trails, shelters and educational signs.

Two seven-storey towers will also be built to allow nature lovers to enjoy panoramic views of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve.

One tower will be located in the Chestnut Nature Park and the other will be built by 2018 in MacRitchie Reservoir Park.

Mr Tan said the developments are part of the Government's objective of bringing people closer to nature and noted that almost half of Singapore land's surface is covered by greenery.

He said: 'Our parks are easily accessed by residents, with most homes within a short walking distance of a park. That is something that we'll work towards.'

He said the Government will continue to engage Singaporeans on new ideas about adding diversity to the urban environment.

He added: 'There will be areas where we can't always agree on, but there is also so much more space that you have found that we can work on together.'

Commenting on the new developments, National Parks Board director of conservation Wong Tuan Wah said: 'Some people say they have no time to enjoy the outdoors. Since you have no time, we will bring the outdoors to you. And if you have more time, we can help you to learn more with things like signages at the parks.'

The cost of the new developments is not confirmed.

Nature groups and the public welcomed the new plans.
Dr Shawn Lum, president of the Nature Society (Singapore), said: 'The Chestnut area is rich in biodiversity but is currently visited mostly by scientists or serious nature buffs. I think more people will be encouraged to visit the area in the future because of the park; it makes it more accessible.'

Teacher Germaine Foo, 46, said: 'I will consider getting my children to use the cycling loop in the future during their school holidays because part of it is near our home in Yio Chu Kang.'

On Saturday was the start of the two-day Festival of Biodiversity. The event, held at the Singapore Botanic Gardens, features exhibitions, workshops and guided tours for the public.

President Tony Tan Keng Yam launched the festival on Saturday.

Photo taken at the launch of the festival.

Monday, May 14, 2012

"Why I Love To Ride My Bicycle" - Walter Lim on Coolest Insights

Walter Lim writes on Coolest Insights (07 Apr 2012),

Why I Love To Ride My Bicycle - Coolest Insights
Photo from Coolest Insights

"Beyond the green and health related reasons cited by numerous cycling fans - and that number is growing significantly by the day - my personal reason for embracing those frames, spokes and wheels is one that is more nostalgic in nature. As a kid and a teen, I used to ride my bicycle with my brother as well as friends in the lovely Serangoon Gardens neighbourhood where we lived. We ventured to places far and near, from the playgrounds in the estate to Ang Mo Kio to the Upper Serangoon and even Punggol area (back when it still had pig farms).

There were many adventures on two-wheels for a young boy back then. They range from those catastrophic falls with bloodied knees, hands and bodies as our bicycles freewheeled down steep and sharp corners, to "spy missions" where we "visited" certain interesting houses in the estate that had fierce dogs, fascinating aviaries full of parrots, macaws and other exotic "birds"."

Hop over to read Walter's post.