Friday, January 18, 2013

Cyclists in Singapore

Cycling to work and back (or for leisure or errands) is a healthy and eco-friendly alternative. However, in Singapore there isn't enough designated and proper path for cyclists and hence they encroach (not that it's illegal) pedestrians walkways.

If we understand the common rule (or sense) on road safety, we should know that vehicles at the rear should be extra caution of the one in front and in-coming vehicle should not encroach on the wrong side of the road. But there isn't any common sense for this rule for most cyclists. Most of them are akin to road hogs, they sound their bell and assumed that people in front of them will move away in time. Some of them sound their bell at a distance away while travelling at full speed assuming that if there are people, they will be able to pin-point where the cyclist is and move out of the way on time. But how about the elderly, pregnant ladies, kids etc? Will they be able to move out of harm's way or would they be knocked down by irresponsible and senseless cyclists?

I am a cyclist and no matter how pressed for time I am, I will never jeopardise other peoples' safety, especially pregnant ladies and the elderly. It is because of other irresponsible cyclists that gives the perception that all cyclists are bad.

If only we can educate these clueless cyclists about the above golden rules, we will be able to minimise risk to our loved ones while they are on the walkways:

  1. Ringing of bells doesn't mean you can pass a narrow path, or in crowded area swiftly. You should allow ample time for response, and decrease your speed. If necessary, walk with your bicycle until you are clear and safe to commence with cycling. Say, "thank you" always regardless of response or lack of.
  2. Never startle people by ringing of bells (or repeatedly), especially to the elderly or pregnant women. You might even get bashed up for startling some guys.
  3. The rights for using the walkway will always be of pedestrians. Cyclists are encroaching their space and should respect this. Ringing of bells for clear access is obnoxious and disrespectful and should not be practised. If you try this on the main road while driving, you will land yourself in deep shit. However, pedestrians do tolerate the above if it is done properly without risking their safety, and followed by gratitude.
  4. Never cycle pass people at high speed (or zig zag zoom) because their startled response could end up in a collision or fall. The elderly and pregnant ladies are more susceptible to being startled and can injure themselves badly. If you are this type of cyclist, beware!

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