Having common sense in a common road space
The good news from Mr Kenneth Xie's video on rush hour at Woodlands Crescent (below): It's heartening to see so many commuting on bicycles.
The not-so-good news: They have little regard for traffic rules and many were not wearing helmets, an important safety feature.
This cavalier attitude boils down to one thing: the perception that cyclists can get away with almost anything.
While there are laws regulating cyclists, they don't have to register their bicycles - unlike motorists. This makes it more difficult to track down those who flout the rules.
There are programmes on safe cycling, but they seem to be preaching to the converted.
The cyclist who sticks to proper paths, wears a helmet and looks out for others already knows what he is doing.
It's time to take education into the heartland, where not everyone may be savvy about the rules. This includes migrant workers, who possibly make up the largest population of bicycle commuters in Singapore.
To be clear, there are laws and there are safe riding practices.
While it is not an offence not to wear a helmet or to ride two abreast, it's common sense to wear a helmet because of the high incidence of head injuries in bike accidents.
And if you ride two abreast on narrow streets, you are courting danger because some motorists, like some cyclists, also do not obey traffic rules.
Sadly, in Singapore, it's often a case of survival of the biggest.
So motor vehicles will edge perilously close to bicycles or cut dangerously in front of them to make a left turn.
This, in turn, causes cyclists to invade pedestrian footpaths, where they speed and ring their bells in annoyance at pedestrians for blocking their way.
In some countries, motorists tend to be more considerate towards cyclists and pedestrians, giving way to them even when they don't have to. Here, an elderly priest does that and gets bashed by a road bully.
It's all about respect and give and take when we share the same space on the roads or footpaths.
For that to happen, regardless of whether you are a cyclist, a cabby, or a cement mixer trucker, a mindset change needs to happen.
And, cyclists, for your own sake, wear a helmet.
Share your views with Elizabeth at firstname.lastname@example.org
IT'S NOT ABOUT EDUCATION, IT'S ABOUT ENFORCEMENT
FROM READER ALLAN TAY
I refer to Elizabeth Law's comment, "Having common sense in a common road space" (The New Paper, Nov 3).
The statement, "It's all about respect and give and take...", reminds me of the "cyclists and pedestrians must learn mutual coexistence'' advice dished out by MPs who love their bicycles.
I know I am not the only one who has urged the relevant authorities to bring back bicycle registration. Many of our roads have security cameras. Yet, until bicycles have registration plates - as they used to - identifying errant cyclists is going to be an uphill task.
THE NEW PAPER, NOV 3
Authorities insist that bicycle registration is cumbersome. Can it be any more cumbersome than our system of COEs and ERPs?
"It's all about respect," Ms Law rightly noted. However, surely this respect also extends to the law?
Every day, we see cyclists flouting the law by riding on expressways, failing to dismount and push their bikes across pedestrian crossings, not having front and rear lamps when riding in the dark - just to name three offences.
Yet how many times have we seen errant cyclists being booked?
When insufficient action is taken, is it any wonder that respect for the law greatly diminishes?
If the law is to be respected, then it has to respect itself.
It is all very well to admonish cyclists who don't wear helmets. But have you noticed how many cyclists who ride against the flow of traffic at high speed wear helmets - often with cameras mounted?
Such cyclists seem to think having a helmet on makes them immortal.
So far, we have been fortunate. Does someone have to die before enforcement is considered?
PEDESTRIANS HAVE TO BATTLE CONSTANTLY WITH CYCLISTS
FROM READER CHUA KIM CHOO
The report, "Errant cyclists in Woodlands Crescent," is a subject I have written about many times, but nothing has been done.
While waiting at the crowded bus stop in front of Block 612 in the mornings, I have often encountered a woman cyclist carrying a schoolboy and ringing her bell furiously through the crowded bus stop, demanding that she have the right of way.
At the traffic junction outside Khatib MRT station, there are many cyclists "fighting" for space with pedestrians.
When crossing the junction, these cyclists will speed furiously across, ringing their bells loudly without any care that there is also a massive crowd of pedestrians.
Even when we are walking along a pavement meant for one person, the cyclists will ring their bells, expecting us to move aside - onto the main road or the grass kerb.
And if you don't, be prepared to be scolded for blocking their way.
We're not spared at the void decks of our HDB blocks either.
While the authorities have been encouraging this means of transport, have they ever thought of ways to protect pedestrians?
I hope the relevant authorities will look into this quickly before it explodes into a serious issue.
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