Friday, March 21, 2008

Tasting your own medicine

I am an avid cycler, bicycler, err...cyclist, bicyclist, whatever. You know what I mean. I have written elsewhere of how, when I lived in the British Naval Base during my childhood, that I used to cycle all over that sprawling military base. And because it was a protected place, the roads where relatively safe. With a majority of the workers cycling to and from work, a cyclist is in good company. I developed my love of cycling then.

Unfortunately, all things had to come to an end. The family had to move because the Naval Base was to be redeveloped. Sembawang New Town sits on pretty much what I knew as my childhood home today. I tried to cycle as often in my new home in Ang Mo Kio neighbourhood, but soon discovered too much obstruction and danger that took the joy out of the cycling. So I pretty much stopped, until I relocated to Pasir Ris later - that bicycle town, where I resumed my love affair with the bicycle, roping in my wife, who, believe it or not, had never learnt to cycle. I have since moved again and for reasons I have yet to understand, stopped cycling. So I can appreciate the present debate over the rights of cyclist on footpaths, the irritating cyclists who think they have the right of way by ringing their bells at you, the pedestrian, and all. I still love cycling but dislike the imperious way that cyclist behave, as if they have the right of way on footpaths Just because one has two wheels doesn't imply ownership or right of way.

Cyclist - if you want to over-take a pedestrian, go around them, if there is a grassy path beside the footpath. If there isn't, respect the pedestrian's right of way. If you can't wait, don't honk at the pedestrian. As a pedestrian, I have always felt offended by such action and intentionally NOT move aside. Get down from your high horse and wheel your wheels around the pedestrian. Remember, you don't own the road. If you don't behave, eventually some people will be forced to throw the book at you. Then it'll be hardship for the cyclist, and they have only got themselves to blame.

I hope it doesn't come to this because I would very much like to get on my bicycle again one day and not have to cycle only on the roads, competing with motorists, who are not so easily bullied. If that ever happens, cyclists will get a taste of their own medicine. And you can't throw any rule book at the motorists because its their road to use, what with all the taxes they have already paid for that right.

Image source: Author: taliesin

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