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.