Singapore has just launched its first Road Safety Month recently. The events this year are targeted at the transport industry, elderly pedestrians, students, and motorcyclists. It is true that pedestrians and motorcyclists are the more vulnerable groups, but we must not forget about cyclists. I am a pedestrian, a cyclist, a motorcyclist and a driver, though not at the same time.
This post is written from the view of a cyclist, a sandwich between a driver and a pedestrian. You will understand why I said a cyclist is a sandwich after reading this post.
For my safety, I cycle on footpaths. I know that I have more ‘advantage’ with my bicycle, so I do not ring my bell unnecessarily. If the footpath is crowded, I get down from my bicycle and push along the footpath. I only ring my bell once if the pedestrian blocks my way. Normally, the pedestrian will move aside and I will continue with my journey. There are some arrogant pedestrians who think that the footpaths are their grandfathers’ roads and refuse to move aside. Depending on my mood, I will either slow down or ring the bell again. Some, though they move aside, they give me a fierce stare when I cycle past them, as if I have done something terribly wrong.
There are also pedestrians who plug into their mobile devices and unable to listen to the bell. It is even worse if they walk in zigzag direction that I cannot predict which side to cycle, normally I will stop and wait for them to walk past me. Some will say sorry to me (sorry for causing me to stop?) when they “suddenly” stand in front of me. For their safety, I suggest them to focus on the road / footpath. Holding up a cyclist is a small matter; being knocked by a cyclist is a big matter.
I cycle on footpaths, so naturally I use the traffic lights for pedestrians at crossroads. Pedestrians have rights-of-way, cyclists do not have. If I cycle recklessly, I will not ask for rights-of-way. But I am a timid cyclist, I wait for the green man patiently, all I ask is to let me cross the road safely, as you would let other pedestrians. I have seen a car driver honking a cyclist for crossing the zebra crossing. If drivers have the patience to wait for pedestrians to cross, why can’t they have the patience to wait for cyclists to cross? Drivers only need to wait for lesser time as cyclists are faster than pedestrians.
Poor sandwiches, squeeze in between. There is a big fuss if a cyclist or some cyclists died in road accident. Many comment on the newspapers, some feel sorry for the family members. After a while, people start to forget about it altogether. My philosophy is simple, “advantaged” people give way to “disadvantaged” people. Car drivers give way to motorcyclists, motorcyclists give way to cyclists, and cyclists (including me) happily give way to pedestrians.
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From the view of a driver
The thing that I dread most when I am driving is the heavy vehicles on the road. The second thing is the motorcycles. Once, I asked my friend who rides motorcycle, how I can help him to ride better if I am driving? He answered signalling (helps him to know where the car is going).
Though I signal when driving, I make myself to be more alert of signalling after I heard his answer. It is because I know signalling will help not only motorcyclists, but also other road users. Drivers, be considerate, signal early.
Road safety means all road users exercise common sense and courtesy. I hope that the campaign will be a success where road users know the dangers on the roads and they must always practise safe habits when using the roads.