Bicycle licensing allows for better rule enforcement

I applaud Ms Amy Loh Chee Seen for her courage to speak up and share her concerns about accountability for cyclists' actions ("Bicycle licensing necessary to curb errant riding"; Feb 3).

Mr Lim Choong Pin said it would be impossible for the authorities to properly enforce such a law ("Let cycling culture develop naturally"; last Saturday).

It is precisely because the authorities and enforcers cannot be on the street 24/7 that licensing is necessary.

In hit-and-run cases, the authorities regularly put up notices, relying on witnesses to step forward.

Many traffic cases have been solved because culprit vehicles can be identified by their car plate numbers.

Car plate numbers act as a deterrent and drivers are constantly reminded that they are not anonymous and are accountable for their actions on the road.

As for allowing the cycling culture to evolve at its own pace, let's just look at the keep Singapore litter free and tray return campaigns.

The unsavoury behaviours of littering and leaving cluttered and dirty tables for the next patron at eating places have become so entrenched in Singapore that they are now "endemic", despite years of effort by various government agencies.

While littering, failure to return trays and making a mess on foodcourt dining tables are most certainly more "harmless", compared with a reckless cyclist, it goes to show that some things cannot be left to just evolve naturally.

If the principle of evolving naturally truly works in such a context, the Government would have had the confidence to allow chewing gum to be consumed in Singapore, trusting that Singaporeans will evolve to be responsible gum consumers, but that hasn't happened either.

Mr David Knapp's comment that cyclists are more likely to be on the losing end in accidents with motor vehicles is most certainly valid ("Bike licensing would be ineffective"; last Saturday).

But putting the cyclists on the pavement is solving one problem, yet creating another in the process.

The victim (cyclist) may now become the aggressor in the limited space catering for pedestrians and cyclists.

I am thankful that so far, there has been no major incident, such as a fatality, involving cyclists and pedestrians.

But the thought of an elderly person or young child being knocked down by a reckless, speeding cyclist, resulting in catastrophic consequences, prompts me to implore the Government to approach this cycling campaign very cautiously.

Jeremy Aw Chon Wai

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 11, 2016, with the headline 'Bicycle licensing allows for better rule enforcement'. Print Edition | Subscribe