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Tea with AK71: Vandals and selfish cyclists.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A few days ago, I was taking an evening walk after dinner and took these photos at an underpass:

Cyclists, get off your bicycles.
Vandals trying to be smart.

Shortly after, a motorised bicyle and three regular bicyles went by me. None of the cyclists got off their bikes as they went through the underpass. These people were being selfish and irresponsible.

The relevant authorities should do more than just put up signs (which are vandalised anyway).

Taken in one of the many public parks in Singapore on a pedestrian walkway. How many cyclists heed the advice?

This world would be a much better place if people all behave more responsibly and show more consideration for others. Is it too much to ask for? I wonder.

Related posts:
1. A moving bathtub and fridge.
2. McDonald's shows us how.

21 comments:

Singapore Man Of Leisure said...

AK,

We may be developed country economically speaking, but we are developing country status culturally speaking...

Got to love the civic consciousness of the Taiwanese, Japs, and Scandinavians ;)

But I have faith. I see hope in our younger Singaporeans :)

AK71 said...

Hi SMOL,

I know what you mean. The next generation will be better. There is hope. :)

SnOOpy168 said...

see & hope that the younger generation will be more civil ? From those have-maid-carrying-school bags , tantum throwing, rude to service staff examples that I am feeling daily, i guess that will be a tall wish whose participants will be an extreme minority.

Happy Pork Belly said...

Hi AK,

Remember an accident years back? An overhead bridge with ramps catered for bicycles was installed with bollards at the lower end to prevent people from riding all the way down and doing the "wooo-haaa" speeding.

Anyway, one is supposed to dismount when on the overhead bridge, but maybe there was no signs.

Someone did not see those newly installed bollards one early morning, let his bicycle roll down the ramp as usual, and ram all the way onto the bollards. The sad case left that person paralysed and the authorities was sued for "not informing the public that bollards was installed".

Cyclists probably didn't know that they are supposed to dismount when crossng traffic junctions too.

Paying dearly for one's folly is one of the worst things that could happen.

AK71 said...

Hi SnOOpy168,

You just dashed our hope. :(

I suppose children are likely to continue doing what their elders are doing now. So, everyone should set good examples.

For many years now, I would clear my tray when I am at fast food centres. The other day, I was at McDonald's in Potong Pasir and there was a big group of boys and girls from SAJC. All of them left without clearing their trays... Sigh... So, you could be right.

SnOOpy168 said...

Kids ? Children ? No eyes see.

I just want to ensure that I have sufficient funds for my own retirement and expenses. Not having to depend on anyone for pocket $ and handouts. Not esp when S$1m HDB flats isn't that far away. Good luck to those parents out there lah.

AK71 said...

Hi Happy Pork Belly,

Can I call you "HPB" for short in future? ;)

Yes, I remember that case. If I remember correctly, the authorities removed those bollards shortly after.

Well, I do sympathise with the cyclist in that instance. However, imagine if he had knocked down a child or an old granny walking in the area...

Singapore is such a small country and we have precious little space. Public spaces are shared and we should exercise consideration for others. As you have rightly pointed out, it is also for our own safety.

A number of times, I witnessed cyclists pedalling across zebra crossings. Zebra crossings are for pedestrians. They are not called pedestrian crossings for nothing. Yes, cyclists are required to get off their bikes. I have seen some cyclists who did but precious few.

The other day, I was driving to Jurong Point and along Jalan Bahar there were 30 or more cyclists taking up the entire left lane, leaving only the right lane for motor vehicles. There was a jam as traffic slowed to a crawl. Shouldn't they be cycling in a single file?

There were two buses caught in the extreme left lane following behind the group of cyclists. The cyclists' joyful outing caused great inconvenience for other people.

People who do things because it is convenient or fun for them without consideration for others are rather common and I can only hope they are not the majority.

INVS 2.0 said...

Hi Ak71,

From my cycling experience, the older generations are the ones not following the rules. They do it un-discreetly, harshly and fatally. Beating red light, red man, belling pedestrians off from their pavement, moving from minor to major road in a reckless manner.

Upon confrontation, their standard reply is, "During my time, there were no such implementations, so why should I follow?" They already said during their time but this is 2012, for crying out loud sake!

We are still socially a 3rd-world country, for your info. I do see new hopes in the younger generation thanks to higher education and exposure to social media.

AK71 said...

Hi SnOOpy168,

Hahaha.. Indeed. For those of us who do not plan to have children, our burdens are lighter.

However, I still believe in setting good examples not just for my imaginary children but also for others to see. Whether my actions have any impact on them is something else, of course.

I have a 10 year old niece and whenever I get a chance, I would share some of my philosophy with her. She seems receptive. :)

AK71 said...

Hi INVS 2.0,

I wouldn't say it is the older generation who are the ones breaking the rules. I have seen youngsters doing it too, in fact, just yesterday.

Two boys and they couldn't have been more than 12 or 14 years old cycling at break neck speed in the housing estate's car park. One turned a corner without even slowing down and almost hit an oncoming car! Yes, bicycle almost hit car and not the other way round.

Folly of the young and stubborness of the old. What about the in betweens? A mixture of both traits? Yikes! I am in trouble. ;p

INVS 2.0 said...

Actually being a cyclist is the worst nightmare of the 3. Why?

First start, a bicycle is technically prohibited from pavements, cyclists have to move on the roads where they then conflict with motorists. Although there are bicycle paths and PCNs for cyclists, they are too limited, too unaccessible and inconvenience. For example, I need to ride on the pavement to reach the nearest bicycle path leading to a PCN.

And the roads are too dangerous for cyclists during congested hours. For young cyclists who have no driving license, they have no clues about traffic rules and so they rather ride on pavements and get fined $20 than to risk their lives on the unfamiliar roads and traffic rules.

As for zebra-crossing and riding across the junction, I do pedal through to make things quicker for vehicles to pass through. No point pushing the bicycle and hold up motorists waiting for me to clear the crossing/junction. If there are pedestrians, I will give them ample clearance.

As for the bicycle paths and PCNs, they are not suitable for high-end road bikes and trial bikes due to the presence of drainage covers, speed strips and other uneven surfaces, which can damage the tyres of these bicycles. Furthermore, they are made to speed in excess of 50km/h and these cyclists are physically trained to do so. So they will go for public roads.

The reason why there are so much arguments is that cycling is a relatively new trend in SG. Unlike other developed countries which have dedicated lanes for cyclists on public roads and the awareness of cycling is high, the infrastructures and acceptance of cycling here are still in the infant stage.

Once everyone get used to each other, hopefully with better hardwares for cyclists in the future, things will get smoothened out.

AK71 said...

Hi INVS 2.0,

I believe that cyclists should be made to learn the highway code. Cyclists should be issued a cycling license. Really, I do. No one should be allowed on the roads, not knowing the rules.

As for pedestrian crossings, cyclists should behave like pedestrians when at such crossings. Cars are supposed to wait for pedestrians to cross. So, they should wait.

How careful individual cyclists are cannot be ascertained but we know that there is a chance that a cyclist could knock a pedestrian down if he did not get off his bike when he should.

Cycling could definitely go at a much higher speed compared to walking or jogging. Twice, at the zebra crossing outside the old Marco Polo Hotel (now a condo), I had to e brake. I slowed down, saw no pedestrian, I started to move off and suddenly a bicycle zoomed right across! No human could have travelled at such a speed on legs!

Certain rules are there for good reasons. People should follow.

INVS 2.0 said...

Hi Ak71,

Honestly speaking, I am also a driver and the real culprits posing hazards to other motorists are motorists themselves. Yes, the growing car population, the influx of expensive and arrogant car owners are the real problems. Road jams, ungracious road manners and breaking of rules are more commonly seen on motorists than cyclists (since most ride on pavements than roads).

Before the rising popularity of bicycles, motorists are blaming motorcyclists for road sins and pedestrians for jaywalkings. And now the target has shifted to cyclists. What's next? And why?

The natural instinct of intolerance of Singaporeans is the answer.

In another sense, people are too pampered to tolerant daily frustrations.

Realistically, this is a crowded country and socially a 3rd-world, we can't expect not to see things we hate to see.

Bad motorists, cyclists, motorcyclists, pedestrians are everywhere.

As for rules, like economic and financial models, are implemented without factoring in practicality and convenience of users. If practicality involves breaking a rule but not endangering others, why not? In NS, I defied some rigid military rules to get things done quickly and productively without risking safety. These rules were implemented by top brains who never travel on the "ground level" before.

This world is flexible. Of course there are risks, like you said earlier, a cyclist might hit another pedestrian or be hit by another car, vice versa. But if a person is too particular about risk, the best place is to stay at home. In fact, taking public transport is safer than private transport in my experience of driving and sitting on a public bus :)

I am more inclined to defend all sides because I am a pedestrian, cyclist, motorist and also a public transport commuter. So I am aware of flaws from every party.

It is too tiring to debate on this issue, btw.

Perhaps you might want to get yourself a bicycle, participate in weekly or monthly cycling events organised by local cycling groups to get a hand of how cycling in SG is like nowadays. :D

INVS 2.0 said...

...continued

According with my conversation with an LTA personnel, there is no cycling license because bicycles are not registered vehicles (aka non-LTA registrated). There much more bicycles than motor-vehicles in SG and by registering every single bicycle would explode LTA's database. :)

AK71 said...

Hi INVS 2.0,

I am not one to have regulations for the sake of having them. Regulations must serve good purposes.

LTA is in charge of land transport and why should they not register bicycles and make licensing of cyclists mandatory if it will promote road safety? Motorised bicycles are now registered or so a friend told me.

Related to this, why should the Traffic Police not make cyclists learn about traffic rules if it will promote road safety? If it will lead to a greater good, we should do it.

I will not defend anyone whether they are cyclists, drivers, pedestrians or a mixture. If they do things which put others or themselves at risk, it is wrong. Quite simple.

Flexibility has been used far too often as a cover for people who break rules, rules which serve good purposes. I will, however, agree that there are rules which seem to exist only to frustrate. We should not even bother to talk about being flexible where these rules are concerned. If they do not have a good purpose, they should be done away with.

Unfortunately, like the saying in the SAF goes, "TSR is written in blood"; people will only learn when very bad things happen. Till then, they will just continue doing what they have been doing just like the older generation you have observed. ;)

I am not a very good cyclist, having ended up in a drain before because I could not control a bicycle well. So, I would rather not put myself and other road users at risk. ;p

SnOOpy168 said...

Cycling bullies on the road. Seen them a plenty, not to mention numerous really-close encounter. Esp during the weekends, late nights and school holidays.

Who are they ? From the kids with their irresponsible parents, to the teenagers on a fun rides, to those yuppies and FT on expensive looking bikes & with equally stylo dressings, to those pinky foldable bikes group.

Their crimes : occupying the entire lane of the road (even on dual carriage way), zic zac or overtaking amongst themselves in hazardous manner including cutting into opposite direction's traffic lane, riding without proper insurance coverage and safety gears (helmets, lights and rear view mirrors).

Had their presence on the road be regulated like motorcyclist does, I am very sure that TP & LTA will have a field day issuing summons and collecting fines.

Therefore, if the cyclist wants to ride on public roads, they have to show competency that they understand the highway code and are aware of possible road use hazards. Otherwise, confine to the bicycle lanes in the public park lah.

Tolerance ? If they get hurt, regardless of who the guilty party, the cyclist will suffer the most. better be safe than sorry. I know, I was a victim as a cyclist myself.

I am a motorcyclist (since 1994),a car driver (2001) and a cyclist since school days where I had plenty of time but no $$ in pocket. So cycling was the past time of the past or when I am at the parks. Road cycling is really too risky and unhealthy for me (all those exhaust fumes)

AK71 said...

Hi SnOOpy168,

I feel that there should be regulations for cyclists just like for other road users too. Educating cyclists about traffic rules and making sure they adhere to them by issuing each one a cycling license will definitely do more good.

Drawing a parallel, my dad and his friends used to be able to bring their speed boats and yachts out without license when I was a kid. For many years now, a license is required for safety consideration.

Personally, I won't cycle on the roads too since, like INVS 2.0 said, they are not cyclist friendly in Singapore (plus the fact that I am a clumsy cyclist).

SnOOpy168 said...

by the bottom line is that we are still far from the comparable social graces of the 1st world countries. Some will blame the FT and PR, afterall, in their own homeland it is "who dares wins" . Some will blame the government & education policy. Some will say it's their upbringing, their parents (hic, whats new). Finally, it's society's fault.

until the cows comes home, I'd better be extra careful while crossing the roads.

Happy Pork Belly said...

Hi AK,

Of course, HPB is fine. I am still finding out how to shorten the name.

On your Jalan Bahar encounter, it’s just 人多势众. Add another hundred more and they can probably apply for road closure! Just joking, no offence to any cyclists here. I do come across very responsible cyclists 

I also felt there that there should be regulations for all road users. Look at those motorised bicycles favoured by the uncles. They really treat it like a motorcycle that can be on the roads, on pavement, and if the traffic light is red, they just join the pedestrian crossing. No license or number plate required.

Anyway, good topic.

AK71 said...

Hi SnOOpy168,

Yes, that is what I always tell people: be extra careful.

Whenever people accuse me of being too careful and conservative in the way I drive, I would say that being more careful is never wrong.

You know, at the same underpass I mentioned in this blog post, I did see someone getting off his bike to push. He was a FT from PRC. How could I tell? At the other side of the underpass, he stopped to talk to a friend. Accent was quite distinct. Good FT. :)

AK71 said...

Hi HPB,

Hahaha.. Your full nickname is still shorter than SMOL's. For him, I didn't bother to ask for permission to shorten his nick, I just did it. Your full nick is still manageable, his would take too long to type. I wonder if I was the first to call him SMOL. ;p

Yes, there will always be good examples and bad ones in every community. It is when we have more bad than good that we worry. :(

I share your feeling that all road users should be subjected to regulation. Every road user should be issued a license. Without a license, they should not be allowed on the roads.

I have seen many times what you mentioned. On the pavement, on the road, on pedestrian crossings, on the bicycle paths... I call these the MPD cyclists. MPD = Multiple Personality Disorder. They are pedestrians on wheels, regular cyclists and motorised road vehicles all in one! These are definitely some of the worst cases.

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