Friday, July 28, 2006

Tour de Singapore

Cycle Tour - the last week or so, several Today readers have written to express their views on road safety for cyclists on Singapore's roads. Not that Singapore's road are badly constructed with potholes all over the place. It isn't even because Singapore's roads are not well designed and well connected around the island. In fact, the government departments in charge of roads and parks have gone out of their way to build park connectors that will link all the public parks on the island so that one can cycle from park to park around the island with little disruption. Unfortunately, for reasons unknown to me, nobody has come up with a Park Connector Marathon for cyclers - a Tour de Singapore - yet. It would be very exciting for me and many cycling enthusiasts if this were to happen. It would be great exercise for cyclists and a fun day in the sun for spectators and family who, more often than not, are cooped up either in their apartments, their neighbourhood supermarkets, the malls or their offices for much of the day.

But the reality in Singapore for cyclists is that Singapore's roads are very dangerous. Over the past month or so, two cyclists have lost their lives on its roads due to motorists' negligence and rashness. I love cycling, but the last time I was on a bicylce must be, oh, 7 or 8 years ago. I used to take long and short cycling trips on my own when I lived in the Naval Base. It was a cycler's heaven because the vehicular traffic there was sparse, the land was huge and the roads were fantastic. I used to cycle from home to Sembawang Beach, just in front of Beaulieu House, which was then a deserted place. In fact, I pretty much cycled around the whole Naval Base before the family moved away.

I don't/can't do that anymore where I live now because it is surrounded by cyclist unfriendly large roads with a constant flow of traffic. Knowing Singapore motorists, it will be suicidal to share the road with them. And I hate cycling on the footpath because, well, they are footpaths, not cycling paths. There are quite a number of cyclists around Sengkang though, but they cycle for utilitarian purposes - such as going to the mall, going to work and going to school. They park in or around Compass Point (often indiscriminately, I must say) where they alight to catch either the MRT trains or the Buses to wherever they are going. Of course I see children on their bicycles at the huge Sengkang Sculpture Park, but it isn't built for serious cyclers.

I don't see the situation improving any time soon for cyclists like me, so I am resigned to another ten years of cycling inactivity, or till my legs give way due to old age...

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