I used to cycle around a lot, on the roads. That was over 10 years ago. I think I was a well-behaved cyclist, keeping to the side of the road, not getting in the way of motorized vehicles. Back then, the danger was with drivers not looking out for cyclists on the roads, not having awareness of their presence, not knowing how to react to their movements.
The last couple of months, the issue of cyclists has cropped up many times in our media. Should they be sharing footpaths with pedestrians, or should they share the roads with motorized vehicles?
On footpaths, cyclists could be a threat to pedestrians. On the roads, cyclists are threatened by fast-moving motorized vehicles. Everyone’s talking about how there could be a win-win situation. In Tampines, they’ve decided to share footpaths. Elsewhere, cyclists are expecting to share the roads.
I am not fundamentally against the idea of cyclists on the roads, but I think many cyclists do not deserve to be on the roads. That’s why I’ve got to mention that I was a regular cyclist before. I’m also a driver. I think I have a balanced view from both sides, and I think, our cyclists have an attitude problem. Not all, but a fair representation of them. Alright, I’m not saying that drivers are not to blame, but I believe their attitudes towards cyclists have remained largely the same over the years. That’s not the same for cyclists.
Back when I was cycling, I was mindful of drivers. As dangerous as it might have been for cyclists, I think cyclists and motorized vehicles shared the roads quite well.
But today, it seems cyclists have decided that they have rights and are determined to claim their space on the roads. The attitudes have changed their riding habits. They are taking up whole lanes, cycling 2 abreast, taking up whole lanes on the rightmost or centre of a multi-line road, making turns from the wrong lanes, making brave attempts to overtake motorized vehicles only to slow down the vehicle they had just overtaken, etc.
It is just totally ridiculous. When I look at some of these cyclists ride, it shows that the cyclists actually do think they have an absolutely equal right to be on the road just like a motorcycle. Never mind that they are not licensed, they don’t pay road tax, they are not insured, and they are not equipped with safety gear. But they want to ride more wildly, albeit far far slower, than a motorcyclist.
Before we can have cyclists co-exist with pedestrians or motorized vehicles, cyclist must learn to be more friendly with the people whose space they want to share. At least, until we have a cycling lane, its either a footpath or a road.