Cycling in Singapore: why all the hate?

It’s funny how in Singapore we’re constantly complaining about the price of COE, the MRT breakdowns, and the overcrowded buses, but we also can’t stand those that use alternative modes of transport.

Don’t believe me?

Just go on Stomp or Youtube and you’ll see hundreds of articles, photos, and videos of people insulting cyclists who “don’t belong on the road”.

True, the trend is not limited to Singapore, as many other cities are having a hard time making cyclists and motorists share the roads.

But it seems like in Singapore the arguments are escalating and becoming harder and harder to ignore.

Especially when you compare the attitude of motorists here to the attitude of motorists in places such as Holland, Denmark, or Spain.

In these countries, many big cities have invested in shared bicycle rental services, integrated cycling lanes, and cyclist road safety programmes.

What’s more, the private sector has also fully accepted the fact that many employees ride a bike to work and have put in place showers and parking spaces for them.

So why isn’t Singapore encouraging more people to ride their bike?

The first reason would be the weather: it’s simply too hot and humid for it to be comfortable for people to ride long distances to work. Sure, many people ride bikes for fun or for short distances, but riding in a hurry to get to work on time during peak hour and wearing work clothes isn’t the most enjoyable of experiences…

Even if getting to work sweaty isn’t that much of a deal, there’s also the question of safety; many cyclist feel like road rules don’t apply to them and they recklessly run red lights, swivel in between cars, jump from the sidewalk to the road, or ignore motorists’ blind spots.

But even if a cyclist abides by all the rules, motorists can be quite mean and impatient too!

It seems like drivers here still see cycling as a hobby that should be practiced in a park or a closed environment, and don’t consider it as a mode of transport of its own. It’s fairly common to hear taxi drivers, bus drivers, and regular folks saying that cyclists shouldn’t be on the road…

I find all of this frustrating; ’m pretty sure our roads are big enough for everybody!

I truly believe that Singapore has the potential to become a leading bike-friendly city. It could even become an example for the rest of Asia; not only would we have lush greenery, protected walkways, and exceptional family leisure spots, we’d be the place where people can safely and efficiently ride their bikes.

Wouldn’t that be great?

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Najib A.

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4 Comments

  • @Alvin – I lived in Copenhagen for 6 months. Its population is 1.5 million. The city-centre is historical and low-rise. Even outside of the city centre, most buildings are at most 5-6 storeys tall. They have policemen on horses. It’s not the same as Singapore. (But Copenhagen is inspiring – I think their sort of life isn’t bad at all. Even if their GDP isn’t as high as ours.)

    I think cycling is a great thing. Nature too. I wish we had more of these in Singapore – but you know – I think these things are rather exclusive with high population densities.

    I understand that high population densities are economically efficient. But I prefer having nature and bicycles and less money. So – I guess I’d rather live outside of Singapore. I mean – we live in a democracy – I respect the wishes of the majority of Singaporeans who prioritise economic goals, who wish to live in a dense city. If I don’t like it – I can leave, I suppose.

  • It’s true, drivers here aren’t used to and don’t respect cyclists. Probably because cycling as a sport is relatively new.

    I think as it becomes more and more popular drivers will get used to cyclists and how to drive safely around them.

  • why the shock? singAporeans are just hateful people. they hate eveyone and everything. imagine they even hate their own ancestors from China when we all know that majority of Singaporeans originate from China. tsk tsk hateful Chinaporeans

    • Lol Chinaporeans? Talk about others instead of yours? Why bitch about others? We all came from one ancestor adam, so why the hate? You’re just being judgemental. Sounds so wrong yourselves. Contradicting don’t you think so. You are no much different from the haters.

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