Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Tour de Singapore

I love cycling, but I hate cyclists.

Heh? Let me explain. I grew up in the British Naval Base up in Sembawang. Then, there were sprawling grounds for one to cycle around and enjoy the neighbourhood. There were footpaths which I cycled along too, but there weren't too many pedestrians up and about at any one time, except in the early mornings and late afternoons when people left for or came home to/from work. So the footpaths were relatively empty. In fact, I often traveled further, riding from the worker quarters to the vicinity of the 'Ang Moh' houses that lined Ottawa Road, Canada Road, right up to King's and Queen's Avenue. That place was even more quiet. Often you can only hear the crickets.

When I eventually moved to Pasir Ris, I nudged my wife to cycle with me. She was great. Up till then, she hadn't cycled at all. For safety's sake, we cycled along the footpaths, not knowing then that it was illegal. But I always refrained from ringing my bell at pedestrians to move aside for me to pass. Either I went off the footpath onto the grass to overtake or I just waited patiently for the pedestrian to make way for me. My wife even used to say 'Thank you' when pedestrians were kind enough to stand aside. After all, we agreed that 'pedestrian footpaths' are called that for a reason.

When I stopped cycling (that's another story) and became a pedestrian myself, I was always irked that my pedestrian 'rights' weren't always respected. Cyclists rang their bells at me to give way, as if they have first rights to a footpath. Some even wiz pass dangerously, forcing me off the footpath. I could empathise with them when they didn't want to use the road, but I could not condone their attitude towards the use of the footpaths. From the way they behaved, you would have thought they owned the whole footpath.

Now, Singapore is considering making it legal for cyclists to use footpaths. With no recourse to complaint and the law, will cyclists now actually own the footpaths? I dread for the future of pedestrians in Singapore.

Image source:


Anonymous said...

i see no reason why they should not allow cycling on pavements. It may be so much safer for the cyclists and motorists on the roads.

Epilogos said...

I agree. Given a choice, I'd rather cycle on the footpath. But the problem is that many Singapore cyclists are an uncouth lot. They cycle on footpaths as if it belongs to them. This is BEFORE the proposed law to make it legal to cycle on footpaths. Often I am so irritated by them that I refuse to stand aside for them to pass.

Ponder Stibbons said...

I'm a cyclist, and I completely agree about those who cycle on footpaths. Yes, the reason why people cycle on footpaths is because the roads are dangerous. But the solution, then, is not to make the footpaths dangerous to pedestrians. You can say that we can educate cyclists to give way to pedestrians, but I am sceptical that that will succeed. There will always be attention-seeking youths riding like they own the path. If the roads are dangerous, then we should educate motorists about how to treat cyclists. Pedestrians are the completely innocent parties in this problem and should not be sacrificed because of reckless motorists.

Epilogos said...

Well, when one has spent S$60,000 to S$90,000 on that car, plus paid the road taxes and all, I can understand why motorists think that the road belongs to them as well. The only way they are going to want to be educated is if the price they pay for the privilege to drive comes down drastically. Sadly, that day will never come, or if it does, cyclists can whiz pass them on the streets because motorists will be caught in gridlock because then, there will be too many cars on a fixed number of roads.