Two suggestions on cycling lane

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Photo from yahoo news

Source

I read the news with sadness. I do not know the deceased Mr Freddy Khoo but I could sense the pain felt by his family and friends. My sympathy to his family.

My brother and I were discussing about this unfortunate accident. He lives in Vancouver; Canada. He managed to pass his driving license there even though he’s been driving in Sg for more than 20 years.

In our discussion, we came out with two useful suggestions regarding cyclists sharing our public roads.

Click here to read the on-line discussion

a) Cycling Lane on Dual Carriageway replacing Road Divider
The concept of having road divider at center of road is outdated. It’s inherited from our past colonial master. Our mindset concerning road divider need to be changed. As it is, we are so short of road space, why do we need to allocate our limited road space for road divider?

Basically, the road divider serves as nothing more than aesthetic appeal for erecting lamp posts and planting of trees only. As a form of safety, it’s minimal. I feel that it’s a waste of space and it’s not justified unless we convert it to a cycling lane.

Most of our roads have center dividers. I suggest that we remove all the trees and lamp posts on the road divider. Those trees and lamp posts are already occupying the road sides. Why duplicate? Retain the road divider curbs or maybe raise them higher to accommodate cyclists.

I see no difference in terms of safety between having a 1.5 meter wide of cycling lane on the side of the main road where the bus lane is already demarcated or having it on the centre of the road in lieu of the road divider. In fact, we are creating additional space viz a viz replacing the centre road divider island with an exclusive cycling lane for this emerging segment of the commuting public.

It’s a suggestion worth looking into. Cyclists do not have to compete with pedestrians at the sidewalk. It’s safer for cyclists to use the converted cycling lane from the centre road divider on public roads. The motorists, pedestrians and cyclists shall all their own respective spaces without infringing into each other’s space.

We are so used to have road dividers on our public roads. If you go to Northern America, their roads do not have center dividers. One great advantage is in case of traffic accident, emergency services vehicles like police car or ambulance could just cross over to the opposite side of the road to reach the accident scene. Their strict traffic law stipulates that all vehicles must stop once the siren is heard. We should learn from them. We must change our ingrained stubborn mindset to accommodate new challenges and demands optimizing our limited land space coping with ever increasing demands from the commuting public.

b) Cycling lane below MRT viaduct
Cycling lane should be constructed to run parallel right below all MRT viaducts / elevated railway tracks where possible. The space below those running tracks are currently empty and not fully utilized. What a waste. We need to make full use of this stretch of space to encourage more eco-friendly cycling with additional infrastructure support such as having more bicycle lots, shower rooms and lockers to encourage smooth blending cycling and train commuting from stations to home. It’s an ideal planning and excellent investment for a better future transportation system.

So far, the government has spent billions on island-wide lift upgrading for all HDB dwellers, estate upgrading & rejuvenation. We have also spent billions on road infrastructure such as road tunnels, overhead bridges, expressways etc. The time has now arrived for the government to do the right thing by budgeting for cycling infrastructure as per above two suggestions. We need to look into the needs of all segments (includes cyclists) of the commuting public. Laws need to be formulated to calibrate mutual tolerance and sharing of our limited public road space.

Do we need to see more loss of precious life on our roads before we start looking at the problem seriously? The suggestions here deserved to be given a fair trial to try it out. Maybe, certain stretch of roads could be tried out on a pilot basis.

The political will to cater to the needs of cyclists should not be underestimated as more and more citizens take to cycling as mode of transport partly due to their growing desire to go eco-green and their health consciousness.

That tragic accident has highlighted an urgent need to look deeper into our cycling community’s needs. Therefore, the Transport Minister should not simply brush this issue aside. The government can no longer afford to ignore the desperate plea from the cycling community as evidenced from the open letters. Any future blueprint or master plan of transport infrastructure will have to take into account of all stake holders’ inputs when formulating an inclusive national transport policy.

Open letter urges PM, Minister to improve road safety for cyclists – Yahoo! News Singapore

An avid cyclist has written an impassioned open letter to Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew, repeating a growing call for a 1.5-metre lane to be set aside for road cyclists.

“My friend is dead,” wrote Stephen Choy, referring to 48-year-old Freddy Khoo who was killed after a lorry hit him and two other cyclists at Loyang Avenue at about 6.50am on Saturday.

“If, only if, I had written this letter earlier, Freddy might still be able to cycle with me in the next Ironman race,” the member of cycling group Team Cychos said.

In a 10-paragraph open letter addressed to Minister Lui and which has also been emailed to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Choy implored the authorities to take an “urgent re-look” into the issue of cycling safety with the increase in accidents involving cyclists in recent years.

Choy, who shared his letter on Facebook on Sunday afternoon, said he had “chanced upon the wreckage” on Saturday without knowing that the victim was his friend Khoo, whom he described as a “good, gentle man” and “a good husband and a doting father to his 5 year old son”.

In his letter, which has been shared over 1,600 times to date, Choy repeatedly called for the setting up of a 1.5m bicycle lane on the roads for cyclists to ride safely in.

“Dear Minister Lui, I am appealing to you as many before me did… From 2008 to 2011, there were a total of 70 cyclists killed. That is a horrifying average of 1.46 cyclists killed a month. Sadly, that is not enough to spur your ministry into action to make the roads safer for cyclists,” he wrote.

Referring to a recent article, the letter also dismissed recent claims by the Land Transport Authority that demarcating road cycling lanes might give both cyclists and motorists a “false sense of security” which can lead to an increase in accidents involving cyclists.

Choy, who said he “was flabbergasted by this flippant and dismissive response”, wrote, “Shame on you. Shame on you for taking the easy way out. If NParks is able to build 300km of park connectors (by 2015), surely the LTA is capable of painting a 1.5m lane on our roads. This is merely the width of 2 carton boxes. Are cyclists not worth that?”

He added, “Isn’t that the purpose of a cycling lane? To remind cyclists to stay within the allotted 1.5m and for motorists to be aware of cyclists within this lane so that we all can be safe.”

He suggested that “if having cycling lanes islandwide proves too daunting a task”, then a pilot project to paint only the more popular cycling routes could be carried out, before singling out roads such Neo Tew Avenue, Mandai Road, Upper Thomson Road and West Coast Highway.

A second letter to PM Lee on Sunday evening, penned by cycling group LoveCycling Sg, echoed Choy’s thoughts and asked that cyclists be allowed to “coexist in peace as road users”.

Recognising that “both cyclists and motorists have a part to play in making our roads safer for all”, both letters suggested that motorists be educated that cyclists, like pedestrians, have a right to use the roads.

This is not the first time cyclists in Singapore have penned letters to the authorities calling for greater road safety.

Earlier in May, LoveCycling SG had also written to Lui in hopes of getting the Ministry of Transport to initiate a “serious investigation… to improve road and junction design in favour of human life over slight speed gain of car movement”.

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About Alan Tang

I'm a Chinese Singaporean living in the Eastern part of SG. I tweet on current affairs & inspirational quotes. I blog on issues or events if they interest me. I also share some of the interesting jokes, stories or anecdotes from my friends or observations on my blog. Thanks for visiting my blog.
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26 Responses to Two suggestions on cycling lane

  1. Kuaychap_kia says:

    Alan,

    Before that, why don’t we first discuss about the riding attitude of cyclists? So far, I have only encountered a minority of cyclists who rode safely whilst the rest were not. So how? I can tell you, many cyclists feel like they are special and above the law but unfortunately they cannot be above the law of nature.

    • If you read carefully, I did say that the law need to be calibrated.
      “Laws need to be formulated to calibrate mutual tolerance and sharing of our limited public road space.”
      There are idiots everywhere from either sides of the fence! Langgar!

  2. julinda says:

    Most cyclists I’ve encountered behave as if they are entitled to behave like they own the roads and everyone should give way to them. A few have shouted at me and showed me their middle fingers when I was just driving my usual cautious way and refuse to allow them to cut into my paths. Unless we decide to make this a cycling city cyclists should cycle at specially-designated parks and bicycles should not be a means of transport but a tool of leisure. All cycling bullies deserve only one thing – to be mowed down and blown off the surface of the earth. They are a nuisance at best, at worst they are (mainly foreign) pests, and like all pests must be exterminated.

    • Maybe those cyclists need to be educated about road safety? It all boils down to lack of space. As it is, our roads are jammed with vehicles coupled with bus lane, cars, vans and lorries are left with only two lanes. How to reserve an exclusive 1.5 meter wide lane for cyclists on our road? It just doesn’t make sense right? But if ppl want to use bicycles as a mode of transport for going green, save money and exercise, who are we to stop them? That’s why I suggest the road divider be converted to an exclusive lane for cycling which won’t affect the current status quo of motorists and pedestrians. Cyclists are abhorred by pedestrians for being road bully and condemned by motorists like yourself for being “pests!” Sigh !

  3. Pingback: Daily SG: 21 Aug 2012 | The Singapore Daily

  4. Will says:

    As a cyclist myself, I find most road cyclists atitudes appalling and downright inconsiderate to other road users. We cannot deny our lack of space and having to share with others already in this overcrowded country. Cyclists are a very broad group and perhaps lobby groups (roadies) are just thinking about their own causes. What about those who commute for work, errands, fetching children etc. Perhaps our pavement should be broaden for this group who just want to stay in one piece and get on with their purpose. And drivers should be mindful that any collision would be deadly for cyclists while they probably get away with some scratches on their cars. Road cyclists have to accept that they can end up as road kill and be cautious. We are certainly very far off from Taiwan and Japan when it comes to accepting cyclists in our mindst and vice versa. They can do it, so can we.

  5. agongkia says:

    Maybe we should have one pedestrian lane,one bicycle lane,one bus lane,one motorcycle lane,one vehicle lane and one heavy vehicle lane?

    • You forgot to mention “Wheelchair Lane!” If we got lots of space, then no problem. We won’t be quarreling here. Fact is we don’t. Langgar!

  6. ape@kinjioleaf says:

    I’m for widening pedestrian walkways for cyclist. Even then, be it pedestrians, cyclist or motorists (including motorcyclist) we should also be mindful of space sharing.
    I’ve seen cyclist riding on the road even though there’s a 2 meter wide park connector with no pedestrian (along Loyang Road). I’ve heard of drivers who threaten to side swipe cyclist and motorcyclist should they occupy ‘too much’ of the roadway. Motorcyclists are similarly accused of reckless riding, weaving in and out of traffic. But all these are the minorities. If we really care to observe, most people actually do share the limited space we have.

    I’m against removing centre divider as I’ve come across fatal accidents due to overtaking (by impatient drivers behind bus) and slips (driver dozing or couldn’t see markings clearly at curve roads) resulting in headlong collision with on coming traffic.

    • Like I say in other countries, there is no road divider. We are so used to the idea of road divider cuz we are programmed in our mindset. If those countries can live without road divider why can’t we? Can’t we just change? Accidents happen all the time. Anyway, the curbs can be raised.

  7. The says:

    /// He managed to pass his driving license there even though he’s been driving in Sg for more than 20 years. ///
    What’s the point or significance of this? Makes no sense. It should be he managed to fail his driving test (not licence) there EVEN though…. or
    He managed to pass his driving test there even though he has never driven in Singapore at all.

    I also cannot tahan some cyclists’ behaviour. They want to have the best of both world – when it suits them they behave as pedestrian at times and as vehicle at other times. They will cycle on the wrong side of the road. They will cycle on the zebra crossing (for goodness sake, come down and push the bike like a pedestrian). They will cycle on footpaths and have the gall to ring the bell (when pedestrians should have the right of way). And many of them do not have lights when cycling at night.

    I don’t agree with using the central divider as cycling lane. The central divider serves a very important function – it separates the traffic in either direction. The trees, crash barriers, concrete low parapet all serve to deflect and absorb car impact. A car travelling at 90kph crashing against the central does so at 90kph. Two cars travelling at 90kph in opposite directions will crash into each other at 180kph.

    Also, given that the right-most lane is the fast lane, it will only be asking for more trouble by locating the cycling lane at the central divider.

    I agree with your suggestion in using the empty land below the above-ground MRT lines. In fact, most of them are not used or under-used. I used to wonder why they do not build more car park lots there. Good idea to use it as a dedicated cycle lane.

    • The driving licence in Canada is difficult to pass. They are strict. That’s what I’m trying to say. U are presuming that it’s the expressway. It’s not. It’s normal road where the legal speed limit is 50kph. If you going to drive a powerful Ferrari at 300 kph and beating the red lights on a normal road, it’s your own funeral!
      It’s only a suggestion. It need to be evaluated and tried on a pilot basis. Why are we so quick to put it down without even giving it a chance to test it out? Why is it so difficult for us to change our mindset? Is there any better solution other than be more extra careful on the road when cycling? Really langgar!

      • The says:

        I am not presuming anything. Non-expressways have speed limits of 70, 60 and 50 kph. I have yet to see the majority of motorist observing these speed limits, unless there is a speed-trap camera nearby. On these non-expressway dual carriageways, speeds of 90kph or above 100kph are common. This is the reality. So, with the bicycle lane sandwiched between these speeding motorist – there will literally be more langgars.

        More langgars between motorists and cyclists and between cyclists and pedestrians.

        I am not quick to put down your suggestion – I thought through it. Which is why I agreed with your suggestion on using the land below MRT lines for cycle lanes.

        Do you expect everyone to agree with you on everything? Yes, the Ferrari drive met his own funeral. By setting up cycle lanes at the median is only inviting more funerals given the reality of speeding motorists and irresponsible and careless cyclists.

  8. Hum Yee says:

    Save the sharks la. Cyclist die nevermind.

  9. is it time for me to draw pictures? :)

  10. agongkia says:

    Your blog was link elsewhere and I did comment there.As such I should also express my view here though I dun wish to langgar here..
    To have a bicycle lane just to cater specially for cyclist is a unnecessary spending especially due to land shortage.Lets not encourage unnecessary sending.
    Those who cycle to work should cycle on foot path for safety reason.Stop and push the bicycle and give way to pedestrian if the path is too small.
    Neo Tiew Road,Chua Chu Kang,Sentosa,East coast etc are some of the many place for hobbyist.

    We should not have our attention distracted and should concentrate on other more important issues that can help our less privilege citizen.Those hobbyist should know safety and take precaution so as to be responsible to their love one.Should avoid busy road like Loyang during morning hours where drivers have less patience.Cycle smart.Be safe and be responsible to our love one.

    • Yes. It’s published on TRS. I consider having a cycling lane as an investment in infrastructure just like building roads etc. it’s not quite right to cycle on pedestrian path. Do you think cyclists will be so civic minded to get down and push their bikes? Do you really think so? If they don’t do what you suggest, they will langgar pedestrians lah. One day they may langgar your family members then it’s too late. Better to reserve a cycling lane for cyclists. What do you think?

      PS: KNN. I just love this phrase “What do you think?” Really langgar!

      • agongkia says:

        If cyclist expect motorist to give way to them,why can’t they be considerate and give way to pedestrian when there is a need?Thats why I rather call foot path than bicycle path.We just have to be considerate and that is what I do whenever I cycle on foot path.
        I am not against cyclist but just hope to save lives.You will be surprise on the number of cyclist who died and not all cases are reported.
        Whether bicycle lane or not,cyclist are at risk when involve in accident.Cycling on the road carry high risk because target is too small for motorist .
        Par Ter San Duo Chung Ee Hoo….Climbing too many mountain may risk meeting tiger one day.I just hope that cyclist can take safety measure especially those hobbyist.Must always remember we have a family to feed.Gone are the days where you can cycle freely in the kampong without holding the handle,folding your arm.Can langgar here not on the road.

  11. kuaychap_kia says:

    Alan,

    Under Singapore law, bicycle is considered a vehicle. But they cannot have the cake and eat it also mah; if they are vehicle, then they must also obey traffic rules. Can’t be what, they don’t want to obey traffic rules, insist to exercise their rights on the road.

    Cyclists need to understand ONE thing as my father taught me from a long time ago that bicycles are not motorised and not stable. They can go wobbling on the road and can get langgar. Worse still, go through pothole, sure go off course, langgar. Sure, Singapore drivers getting from bad to worse but in terms of infrastructure we will have big challenge to accmodate cyclists. I have nothing against cyclist but they really need to start treasuring their own lives or else no point complaining from the other world lor….

    • “complaining from the other world lor….”
      Maybe they will be treated better there. As it is, they are treated badly here by the motorists here. Let’s hope that they don’t langgar there.

  12. Jason How says:

    can anyone tell me, those who were killed in road accidents…….are they roadies? or casual riders? Is there a study made, the type of rider and how they were killed? Has our government done anything on such studies? It is very important to know the behavior of our riders, and then tackle the issues and put in place traffic laws and then finally defining or calibrate them after they are enforced . For the past 2 weeks, i have been reading many people complaining, finger pointing and giving suggestions. Has any of the cycling groups step up to voice them in a public forum? I read today Strait Times, there is 2 full pages covering this issue. And it mentioned that one of the cycling group has initiated a “closed door” discussion with the authorities. Good to know that this is happening right now…….but will there be a public forum for everyone……drivers, pedestrian and cyclists? for anyone who want to voice out their concerns and suggestions?
    I am a cyclist, who do not belong to any cycling group, or have done a lot reading on our local cycling scene, so please forgive me if i have make any incorrect statement, and please do correct me. I am very interested to attend a public forum/discussion on the current issue of protecting our cyclist. So Gintai, please do let me know if there is such forum coming up.

    My 2cents worth of suggestion,
    (1) we should register all cycling group with The Singapore Cycling Federation (SCF), so that proper education on road safety are been pass down to their cycling members.
    (2) government involvement must be present in the cycling scene in enforcing all traffic laws on cyclist and drivers, prosecuting those who flout the laws (like they say, you need to kill a blacksheep to…..) , therefore we need to quickly come up with a good sets of traffic laws for cyclist. After these laws are set, we need to monitor and fine-tune them, so that it meets our Singapore content (not inheriting from some other foreign countries).
    (3) educate all cyclist……we need to better educate leisure/casual cyclist, both local and foreigners. It’s very obvious that these groups of cyclist have given a very bad name to law-abiding cyclist.

    My final words here…….we have to start doing something NOW!!!! the authorities and government need to do something NOW!!!! and we need a public forum where cyclist-drivers-pedestrians can voice their concerns and be heard NOW!!!!!

  13. agongkia says:

    No need to form a Durian Association specially for durian lovers and need to teach them how to eat durian without being choke.No need to waste the Garmen’s time and help to cut down on boleow spending.
    To me cyclists should ride on the footpath and when there are pedestrian and when the space is too narrow,have the courtesy to push the bicycle instead of ringing.We have enough places like park to cater for cyclist .
    Hobbyist who like to have the thrill of cycling on the road are taking a risk.
    Instead of having extra bicycle lane ,if I have a say ,I will make it a law to ensure they put on luminous vest ,proper safety light and helmet and non compliance will be book and fine.Maybe COE and road tax and yearly inspection and pay a license.And I will also make cyclist on the road to cycle against the traffic so that they can see vehicle approaching and have enough time to react.

  14. ah pek too says:

    If Agongkia is a law-maker, I will call for a vote of no confidence in him. Maybe, he lives in ivory tower and never
    see those flashy cyclists with their branded expensive and well equipped gears. Branded helmet, lights, boots and jerseys etc. Those ah pek and ladies with umbrellas fitted on their made in China cheap bicycles seldom got themselves into accident. Why? Because the ah peks and aunties not howlian like those cyclists who behave like grand pro masters mah.

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