Clearer laws on road etiquette needed

As the number of cyclists continues to expand rapidly, the problems associated with sharing the roads have also increased dramatically. PHOTO: ST FILE

Riding bicycles in Singapore has evolved from a cheap alternative mode of transportation into a full-fledged recreational activity.

As the number of cyclists continues to expand rapidly, the problems associated with sharing the roads have also increased dramatically.

Singapore is a tiny nation and, even without bicycles, our roads and paths are crowded. Traffic jams often occur even with the slightest accident. Add to this the burgeoning number of cyclists jostling for space on the roads.

Already such close proximity has resulted in accidents and fights.

It is easy to suggest that road users show kindness and patience while sharing roads. However, life in Singapore is hectic. Time and space are commodities we have little of.

This makes drivers less tolerant of cyclists occupying half or more of a lane, forcing the driver to switch lanes.

Thus far, the authorities seem to have chosen a mainly watch-and-see approach, but more proactive management is required.

Legislation on proper riding on roads should be broadcast to all road users. Those who flout the rules, whether cyclist or driver, should be punished.

On the flip side, the authorities should allocate more clearly defined footpaths and provide more cycling routes that don't involve major roads.

Riding is a healthy pastime which should be encouraged. However cyclists should also be made aware of their responsibilities and the fact that space is limited.

Let's work towards a safe, healthy and smooth journey for all.

Peter Loon Seng Chee

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 22, 2019, with the headline Clearer laws on road etiquette needed. Subscribe