Why so few summonses issued for cycling offences?

A woman riding a bicycle in St Michael's estate.
A woman riding a bicycle in St Michael's estate. PHOTO: ST FILE

I was shocked that only 1,555 summonses were issued by the police for cycling offences last year (Fewer cyclists hurt in accidents but more caught breaking rules, May 13).

This works out to an average of about four summonses issued a day.

Daily, in the 20 minutes that I take my dog for a walk, I have observed thatonly one in 10 cyclists had their front lights switched on and only one in 20 had both front and rear lights switched on.

This is just based on the Geylang East Central and Sims Avenue neighbourhood that I live in.

I also see many cyclists switching back and forth between walkways and roads, often riding in the opposite direction of road traffic, speeding between people at bus stops while ignoring the bicycle path behind them, and crossing roads diagonally on a red light, among others.

All that a policeman needs to do is to stand on a pathway for one evening. I am sure that he will be meting out fines to more than four cyclists for flouting rules.

From the number of summonses issued, it appears that many lawbreakers are getting away with their errant acts and that traffic rules are useless in deterring dangerous riding behaviour. The same applies to errant personal mobility device (PMD) riders.

It appears that either there is a shortage of manpower in law enforcement agencies, or a lower priority is placed on the enforcement of traffic rules for cyclists and PMD users.

What is the use of increasing public awareness of the laws if errant riders are confident that they are unlikely to get caught for breaking them?

One way of solving this problem is to empower members of the public with enforcement rights such that they are able to halt lawbreakers, obtain errant riders' identification and report them to the police together with photos or videos.

Amy Loh Chee Seen

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 17, 2019, with the headline 'Why so few summonses issued for cycling offences?'. Print Edition | Subscribe