FiveStars Meet-Up: A chat with cyclists and motorists
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FiveStarsAndAMoon met up with a few cyclists and motorists over the weekend and had a chat. Over coffee, calamari and fries, we deliberated on the sharing of roads between cyclists and motorists, bicycle lanes and the idea of implementing licences for cyclists.
Broadly speaking, cyclists who use the bike as a method of commuting, and those who are seasoned bikers, are pretty much responsible road users. They know the rules, keep to their lane – and pray that fellow motorists don’t try to run them over.
Cyclists are tax-payers too and they have every right to use these roads in a safe manner. However, many cyclists feel that drivers in Singapore are an impatient bunch. Maybe this a behavior sprouted from exorbitant car prices. The plea for drivers to be more tolerant echoed strongly throughout our conversation.
Here’s an excerpt from our discussion:
Are cyclists a scary bunch?
Edmund: Cyclists scare me. If you veer too close, you’re at the risk of hitting them. It seems as if cyclists can flutter around the roads and drivers have a fear of hitting them.
Ronnie: There are two types of cyclists, one is observes road safety and rides responsibly and the other who is a aloof about what’s happening on the roads. It doesn’t help that Singaporean drivers can be careless. Many don’t look to their left and right before changing lanes and moving off.
Sandy: There is also courtesy on pedestrian paths. I try not to use the bell unless I absolutely have to. Mutual respect is important and hand gestures mean everything. Tell the world what you intend to do.
I’ve read comments online that Singaporean roads are dangerous for cyclists, do you feel that way?
Sandy: A lot people tell me “well, this is Singapore”. Like a resignation, it’s like this so this is how its like. Well, I don’t think so – we can make the roads safer, have drivers more tolerant and a more pleasant environment for all.
Ronnie: There are quite a number of errant cyclists on the road and these spoin the reputation of cyclists generally.
What about the idea of bicycle lanes?
Sandy: Car lanes in Singapore are wide, if not wider than other countries. Park connectors don’t get you to work. This is a crazy idea – but if our drivers are so dependent on lines, why not have a “reference line” for bicycles instead? We don’t need a full lane, just a line of a different colour would do.
Ronnie: …and we could paint it green!
Sandy: Yes, that’s a great idea! Bikes are a green transportation!
Edmund: Actually, more legislation would be needed, there are plenty of gray areas on policies governing cyclist’s road usage.
What about overseas?
Jennifer: The attitudes in Taiwan (where I come from) are different. People are more tolerant – and we have motorbike lanes!
Sandy: I’ve lived in Taiwan and I can share that people are less uptight over there.
Ronnie: Rush, rush, rush… that’s what this island is about. We need a shift in attitudes.
On the management of cyclists…
Sandy: The traffic police is too lax on cyclists, they don’t fine them! I mean, I do everything legal so I have nothing to fear. And if I actually do something illegal, then please fine me! This would keep the blacksheep in check. You know what? I don’t even mind paying a small fee to be “licenced” to ride a bike. A licence would actually give me some rights on what I can do as a cyclist.
How else can we make Singapore roads safer for all users: cyclists, motorists, bikers and all? Is it a matter of more legislation?
Many feel that education and tolerance is important, but where these fail – legislation will enforce our safety.