Forum: Code of conduct should put heavier burden of care on cyclists

I agree with Mr Francis Chu, co-founder of cycling group Love Cycling SG, that the updated pedestrian code of conduct is unnecessary and open to abuse by aggressive cyclists (Pedestrians urged to keep left on shared paths in code of conduct, Aug 5).

Also, it takes away pedestrians' joy of walking hand in hand or side by side because all pedestrians would now be expected to keep left.

Moving towards codes of conduct instead of legislation is good. But to avoid right-of-way confusion and abuse, we need a bolder code on pedestrian paths.

For example, the highway code for zebra crossings forces all motorists to keep a lookout for pedestrians at all times lest they be penalised for accidents as pedestrians have unequivocal right of way there.

Using "the pedestrian is king on pavements" would serve as a clearer code of conduct, not just for pedestrians, but for all pavement users.

It would put the heavier burden of care on less vulnerable pavement users, such as cyclists, who should be the ones given the responsibility to signal to pedestrians that they want to pass, wait until it is given or overtake the pedestrian on the grass patch if it is safe to do so.

In fact, we should complement codes of conduct with cleverer pavement designs to nudge both pedestrians and cyclists towards safe behaviour on footpaths.

Instead of providing separate "cycling paths" which would then be invaded by pedestrians like they are now, provide a single footpath for pedestrians.

Then, equip these paths with overtaking strips which are conducive for cyclists but unpleasant for pedestrians to walk on.

Perforated-slab grass pavers currently used in many carparks come to mind. This approach would even save more land for greenery.

The same approach can be applied to dedicated bicycle crossings. Pedestrians would stay off the unpleasant surface, while cyclists would prefer the clearer paths.

Osman Sidek