Forum: Best way forward for road safety is through education, not fines

I was dismayed to read that the recommendation by the Active Mobility Advisory Panel to cap cycling groups to a maximum length of five bicycles in a single file or 10 if cycling two abreast has been adopted as a rule warranting a fine (Fines for errant road cyclists to be doubled, new rule to cap size of cycling groups, Oct 20).

There has been no discussion of how this rule will be implemented or how it will be enforced.

For instance, a common scenario that one encounters every morning on popular cycling routes is a slower group being overtaken by a faster one.

At such a time, both groups may have to slow down at a stop light, or for a car that makes a sudden lane change. As the groups inevitably merge, who is at fault? Who would be fined?

What concerns me even more, though, is the tension and hostility that have surrounded the discussion of the topic.

Over the last two years, the vitriol directed at cyclists on Singapore-based online motoring forums has reached alarming levels. Some of the writers on these forums have no qualms expressing thoughts of violence towards cyclists, considering them to be "collateral damage".

Where did all this anger and hate stem from? Rather than try to address the source of such extreme views, the acceptance of some of the panel's recommendations seems to indicate an agreement with such forums' thinking that the roads belong solely to drivers.

This new rule is a major setback to the country's vision of a car-lite future.

We need to move towards a more gracious society, and the best way to do this is through education and self-awareness.

We certainly do not need to take a draconian approach, where behaviour is regulated with fines and convictions.

The increase in the popularity and use of bicycles over the last 18 months has shown that "car-lite" is a concept that we can embrace as a nation. Let us not squander this opportunity to make it a reality.

Michael Price

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