Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Are cyclists sharing the roads graciously? Letters to the media

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

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

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

His actions were uncalled for.

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

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

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

Jerry Low

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

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

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

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

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

Danny G Tan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A little courtesy goes a long way.

Lau Pei Yng (Miss)

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

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

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

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

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

Ivan Lee

Thursday, May 12, 2011

What is Everyday Traffic?

The open facebook group Everyday Traffic is "a discussion portal and a resource portal for all things transport and traffic. "

Everyday Traffic

A discussion portal is welcome news for cycling, especially one which regular folk can participate in easily. Facebook has facilitated participation well beyond blog-reading regulars for most things, so this is a promising venue.

Everyday Traffic is managed and moderated by Tham Chen Munn, the director of Traffic and Transport Consultancy Services at McCormick Rankin Cagney, a transportation consultancy, Chen Munn is also the Vice President for Leisure & Safety with the Singapore Amateur Cycling Association.

This site hopes to encourage awareness and discussion amongst the transport community -planners, developers, architects, students, engineers, journalists, policy-makers, good drivers, bad drivers, etc. By taking into the larger, relevant issues on transport, cycling discussions avoid 'us vs them' limitations and contribute coherently to awareness and fuel action.

Admittedly this is as ephemeral as any other facebook page - while well suited for an ongoing conversation, we can’t link to specific discussions and trawling through the archives is only possible linearly.

So treat it as a source of conversation and Chen Munn promises a FRIDAY FRIENDLY FEUD, a current affairs topic he will moot related to traffic for everyone can pitch in ther five cents worth! This was simulated by a diverse yet constructive discussion on the feasibility of a helmet law for bicycles on 8th April 2011. Hop over to take a look!

Everyday Traffic - helmet law?

Ride of Silence Singapore - 21 May 2011 @ MBS, register at 8am

ROS Singapore 2011

The Ride of Silence is observed in honor of those who have been injured or killed while cycling on public roadways.

  • To HONOR those who have been injured or killed
  • To RAISE AWARENESS that we are here
  • To ask that we all SHARE THE ROAD
"The Ride of Silence is free of charge and open to all without affiliations, we only ask cyclists to ride no faster than 20 Km/h (12 mph) and to remain silent throughout the ride."

Event details:
  • Saturday 21 May 2011: 8am.
  • Starting location: Marina Bay Sands Promenade.
  • Destination: 20 Km Loop to Marina Bay Sands

Find out more more at the Ride of the Silence webpage at and stay up to date via the facebook page.

Note: this is not a joyride for newbies but for cyclists familiar with the roads. The organiser shares on the facebook event page that the 'Singapore Traffic Police PROHIBITS them from having motorcycle escorts, motorized safety vehicle or blocking the flow of traffic in any way.'