SINGAPORE – When a traffic cop flagged down Mr Louis Tan at a bus stop last month, he panicked and ran through his mind what infringement he had committed.
“I was nervous and shaking, thinking I had done something wrong. Everyone at the bus stop was staring,” said the 29-year-old financial consultant and part-time deliveryman.
It turned out he had done nothing wrong at all — quite the opposite, in fact.
“I was very surprised when he commended me for my riding gear,” said Mr Tan, who rides a Yamaha motorbike.
He was one of five riders spotted by the Traffic Police (TP) who received awards on Saturday for their safe riding practices. It was among the efforts to promote safe riding among motorcyclists, who were disproportionately involved in traffic accidents this year.
The awards were part of the Singapore Ride Safe campaign launched on Saturday by the TP and Singapore Road Safety Council, which also includes exhibition booths of safety gear at National Bikers’ Weekend at D’Marquee Downtown East in Pasir Ris. The booths will be up till Sunday.
Motorcyclists and their pillion riders were involved in 2,782 accidents between January and September 2022, making up 56.1 per cent of all traffic accidents, TP said.
Thirty-seven died, accounting for 46.8 per cent of all traffic fatalities.
The motorcyclists who received awards were spotted by TP officers in September and October, and were given goodie bags which included a helmet bag and bandana.
More than 600 riders have been commended since 2019, with 42 rewarded this year.
Mr Tan, who got his licence in 2021, said he wore gloves, a PSB-approved helmet, long riding pants and a long-sleeved jacket. He also checked blind spots and signaled before turning, and kept within the speed limit.
“Some riders may think they’re only riding a short distance so they won’t bother to put on all the gear. But I always do so as a precaution, even when the weather is hot and I’m sweating,” he added.
Minister of State for Home Affairs Sun Xueling, the guest of honour at the event, said: “The patrol officers had observed that these riders were practising all the traits of safe, responsible and gracious road users. They were adhering to traffic rules, giving way to other road users, and donned appropriate riding apparel.”
Ms Sun added that accidents involving motorcyclists rose from 1,711 in the first half of 2021, to 1,733 in the same period in 2022.
“This increase is not large, but is still of concern, as any increase means a potential loss of lives,” she said.
A fashion show by Harley Davidson was also held at D’Marquee on Saturday to encourage riders to wear protective gear.
The campaign is part of TP’s ongoing efforts to engage motorcyclists. In the first half of 2022, it reached out to more than 15 motorcycle shops, associations and companies that hire riders, to encourage riders to take the necessary precautions while riding.