Community event in Toa Payoh promotes safe practices for cyclists and pedestrians

MP for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC Saktiandi Supaat checks out bicycle tags at the Singapore Police Force's booth during the Road Safety Awareness Day event at Toa Payoh East Community Club on March 18, 2018.
MP for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC Saktiandi Supaat checks out bicycle tags at the Singapore Police Force's booth during the Road Safety Awareness Day event at Toa Payoh East Community Club on March 18, 2018.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE — Safe riding, especially in old housing clusters with many elderly folk, is more important now than ever with the influx of dockless bike-sharing schemes.

“A lot of their users are youths, who always cycle on the road without knowing safety rules,” said Toa Payoh Active Mobility Patrol leader Razali Puasa Muhammad, who has headed the volunteer group since April 2016.
 
In the past year, bike operators like ofo, Mobike, and oBike have flooded Singapore with their garish two-wheelers, which have mushroomed to about 100,000.
 
To promote safe riding, Toa Payoh GRC held a one-day Road Safety Awareness Day event at Toa Payoh East Community Club on Sunday (March 18).
 
Through hands-on sessions and information booths, it aims to educate cyclists and pedestrians on how to stay safe while using shared paths.
 
The event kicked off with an 8km heritage cycle around the Toa Payoh estate, with stops made at the dragon playground in Lorong 6 and the century-old Lian Shan Shuang Lin Monastery.
 
Participants were given road safety pointers while cycling alongside seasoned bikers from an enthusiast group, Toa Payoh East Novena(Ten) Cycling Buddies.
 
“When we cycled, there were elderly on the paths and we had to look out for them crossing the roads… It puts things into context when we explain to them about road safety issues (afterwards),” said MP for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC Saktiandi Supaat.
 
Said ITE lecturer Sheikh Fawazi, a member of Ten  Cycling Buddies: “There are a lot of reckless cyclists around who just ride into pedestrian pavements. I know of a lot of old folks who come into meet-the-people sessions and say: ‘Can you do something
about this?’”
 
Information booths were also set up by agencies like the Singapore Police Force (SPF) and Land Transport Authority (LTA).
 
They included a Road Master Test Kit booth by the traffic police, which had a series of three tests to assess sight, hearing, and reflexes; and a Safe Riding Programme booth by LTA that put cyclists through a circuit course like that of a driving centre.
 
In an old estate like Toa Payoh, walking paths are narrow but elderly residents are aplenty, said Mr Saktiandi, who is pushing for more Green Man Plus pedestrian crossings in the neighbourhood.
 
Introduced in October 2009, the Green Man Plus scheme gives senior citizens and disabled pedestrians 13 seconds more time to cross the road when they tap their senior citizen concession cards or Green Man Plus cards on the card reader on traffic light poles.
 
But the onus of road safety still falls on road users, said SPF assistant superintendent Yeow Seng Yong.
 
“When you’re riding, give way to pedestrians. Because one day, you’ll be walking too. When that happens, if people don’t give way, you’ll get into an accident. Be considerate.”