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Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Cyclist vs

Cyclists in Singapore have always been on the wrong side of the news. Either they are immortalised on youtube and stomp for their riding antics or they are making the headline as accident victim. Social media here (and I think in other countries as well) are full of complaints about cyclists.

Over in Singapore, one of the biggest pet peeve is cyclists who continues to cycle on pedestrian walkways, which except for Tampines town, is illegal in very other estates. Yet these cyclists ride like they own the pavements and expect pedestrian to jump out of their way when they zoomed by. On the road, the tables are turned on them when motorists forced them to the curb and in some extreme case, mow them down like bowling pins. Yet, despite these risks, the behaviour of cyclists on the roads seem to have gotten from bad to worse and worst still, even if they are the one in the wrong, they behave like they are not like this one here.

Just this morning, I was running along Changi Beach Park when I came across an altercation between a group of cyclists and a runner. It appeared the cyclists were cycling on the pedestrian path and not on the empty cycling path. The runner apparently shoved one of the cyclist. Not too sure whether that was deliberate or accidental. What I gathered was the cyclists were angry he had pushed one of them down. He, the runner was angry the pack of cyclists were forcing him off the path onto the grass patch. There was loud voices raised and it looks like 2 of the cyclists was not going to let up. The runner stood his ground and insisted that the cyclists should have not been on the pedestrian path. They in turn retorted that there was a child on the cycling path and so they had detoured onto the pedestrian path. At one stage things got pretty heated up but eventually better senses prevail and everybody moved on.

I cannot judge who was right or who was wrong. A lot of us runners also run on the cycling path as it is made of asphalt which is kinder on the leg than the concrete on the pedestrian path. So to fault the cyclists for cycling on the pedestrian path can be hypocritical. But having said that, when a whole pack of cyclists rushed down a narrow path at speed of 35 to 40 km/hr, it can be quite scary for the pedestrian and is an accident waiting to happen. I go to the East Coast Park frequently and I am always shocked at the irresponsible attitude of pack (yes I will describe them as pack rather than train) of cyclists. Even though they are cycling on the cycling path, East Coast Park is not the place for competitive cycling. The cycling path is between the pedestrian path and the facilities on the other side and all park users has to cross the cycling path to get to the toilet, car park or the underground passage on their way to Marine Parade. There are pedestrian crossings at regular intervals but I have never seen a cyclist stop for anybody. With so many people including children and pets running across the cycling path, it is really scary to see pack after pack of cyclist charging down the path scattering everybody in the way.

It is the same situation on the road. At Upper Thomson Rd, I see pack of cyclists cycling together. Perhaps they think there is safety in number and they are more visible to motorists. But some part of the roads are single lane, like Old Upper Thomson Rd and motorists are forced to crawl behind them until the road widen enough or there is no oncoming vehicles and motorists then overtake them against the traffic flow. But of course the cyclists don't care because they expects motorists to give way to them just as they expect pedestrian to give way to them on the pavement.

Either way, cyclists are not endearing themselves to the general public with their blatant flouting of rules like riding across overhead bridges, failing to stop at pedestrian crossings and very rude and obnoxious shout at people or  the incessant ringing of the bell to clear the way for them. At the end of the day, it is a life at stake be it theirs (most of the time) or that of the pedestrian (very rare). If only they can realise that and rather than try to be king of the road, practice a little humility and patient and learn to co-exists with other road users without coming across as the villain in all the situation.

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