Excellent article about cycling in Singapore, insightful and balance. Lots of valid points.
Thanks to Google translate, here is the English version:
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“Since I started riding bicycles four years ago, many of my friends have heard that I have been riding on the road often. I was always asked with a strange look: “You are riding on the road, it is not dangerous? There are many cars on the road at high speed. You rely on a pair of feet, don’t you worry about hitting by the car?”
Of cause it is a concern. I have been riding more than 10,000 km so far. Although I have been harassed, insulted and even in danger of car accidents by unreasonable drivers several times, I am glad that there have been no traffic accidents. Although most motorists will treat each other with courtesy, occasionally there will be news of someone being hit by a reckless driver.
Indeed, the cyclists are relatively disadvantaged, because most of them will not install a camera, and cannot record the bullying behaviour that happens from time to time. When the driver slammed on the accelerator, the cyclist couldn’t catch up, let alone record the licensee’s license plate and report it to the authorities.
On the contrary, almost all cars now install the camera in front of and behind the car, thus greatly increasing the probability of their inclusion and uploading of video. Although there are “black sheep” amongst cyclists, based on the disparity between the motorists and cyclists, it is easy to cause the illusion that “the bicycle rider often violates the rules”, making many law-abiding cyclists innocently affected, being regarded as “lawbreaker” by some extreme drivers.
This inequality is invisible to non-cyclists because as a weak and a few bicycle riders, the voice will often be overwhelmed by the majority of non-cyclists. Regrettably, this majority group also includes decision makers who make regulations.
We’ve heard many disputes between bicycle riders and car drivers. Those who have not caused accidents and casualties may also go to court. In the Internet age, because of the aforementioned reasons, the prejudice against the cyclists, as a minority group, can easily become the target of public attack.
For example, regarding the requirement that the cyclists must ride on the left edge of the road, it is easy to become too generalise, and all the cyclists who are not riding on the left edge are regarded as illegal.
Since the rules are dead, traffic conditions are dynamic. Under what circumstances is it considered to be “obstructing traffic”? If it is during non-peak hours, traffic is smooth and there are no heavy traffic on the road, there are two or more lanes for drivers to overtake. Does the bicycle rider still have to keep the rules of “only on the far left side of the road”?
For safety reasons, if you force the cyclists to ride only on the far left side of the road, it not only reducing the visibility of the cyclists on the road, it will also cause the cyclists to enter the blind spots of those motorists turning into the left.
Many people don’t know that when a heavy vehicle passes a bicycle rider at a high speed (within the same lane), the impulse may cause the rider to lose balance and steer to the roadside curb, or fall into the drain. Therefore, such a rigid regulation sometimes indirectly increases the probability of a traffic accident.
Regrettably, some netizens who hate the cyclists seem to believe that the road should give the priority to four-wheelers (because they pay the most road tax), insist that they have the absolute right of way, and that if “violators” (referring to the cyclists) get into accident with cars, it is their own fault.
As a shared infrastructure, every road user (including pedestrians), regardless of whether or not there is a road tax, should have equal rights to use the road. Since the four-wheeled vehicle has the largest volume, the fastest speed, and the strongest lethality, it is better to give other road users a courtesy than to treat other people as second-class citizens.
It is very unhealthy to use “road tax” to determine road rights. It also shows that the local road culture needs to be improved.
Frequent revision of more stringent regulations targeted at the cyclists clearly is not a cure.
Instead of being entangled in who is right and who is wrong, whoever has the right to pass, decision makers and road users may have to explore how to cultivate a road culture that allows everyone to respect each other and give priority to safety.
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