The Straits Times
Published on Feb 12, 2013

Introduce theory test on traffic rules for cyclists on roads


ONE fatal cycling accident is one too many, especially when two young children were involved in the latest one ("Two young brothers die in road accident"; Jan 29).

It is high time that some form of legislation is introduced to prevent such unfortunate events from occurring again.

First, cyclists who would like to cycle on roads should be made to sit some form of theory test on traffic rules, similar to the Basic and Final Theory Tests that drivers and motorcyclists have to take as part of acquiring their licences.

As cyclists are using the roads and interacting with other road users, they must be aware of traffic rules and abide by them.

Drivers can attest to seeing cyclists who are either oblivious or ignorant of traffic rules, and engage in risky behaviour including weaving in and out of lanes without looking out for other vehicles. This endangers the lives of all road users.

Second, I find the current law which states that drivers and motorcyclists must keep a 1.5m distance when overtaking cyclists unreasonable, especially during peak hours when congestion is a common sight. The distance of 1.5m is the width of more than half a lane and almost the width of the whole lane in narrow areas. This makes it almost impossible for drivers to overtake cyclists safely, causing traffic to be further congested as these cyclists travel at a relatively slow speed.

This is exacerbated when the left-most lane is a bus lane in operation. Bus lanes are designated so that commuters can reach their destination faster during peak hours. However, buses cannot safely overtake cyclists due to their sheer size and because the other lanes are already congested. Buses are hence made to trail behind, defeating the purpose of having the bus lanes in the first place.

Perhaps there should be restrictions on when cyclists are allowed on roads, such as during off-peak hours, to minimise congestion caused by cyclists.

Cycling on roads endangers cyclists themselves and other road users. Many lives are at stake.

Nevertheless, we can reduce this danger by implementing certain legislation such as the suggestions stated above.

I myself am an avid cyclist and am all for cycling on roads in Singapore, but only when more laws are passed and enforced to ensure the safety and well-being of cyclists and other road users.

Martin Tan Fan Min