Bike-car fracas shows need for education
AN ONLINE clip depicting an apparent altercation between a cyclist and a driver near VivoCity has highlighted a possible lack of understanding between the two groups of road users.
Posted on YouTube last Tuesday by a user called Alex Tae, the footage - said to have been captured by an in-car camera - shows the cyclist inching ahead of traffic despite the red light at a junction.
When the light turns green, the cyclist pedals ahead, riding beside the kerb on the extreme right lane.
As the vehicular traffic catches up with him, the three-lane road widens into five lanes.
According to an account by Alex on YouTube, the cyclist caused him to jam on his brakes and, at this point, he honked at the cyclist.
During a tense moment in the clip, the cyclist stops in Alex's lane and apparently gestures at the driver before moving off.
Both cyclist and driver then negotiate a right turn at another junction.
Just after completing the right turn into Harbourfront Walk, the cyclist stops abruptly and gestures at the driver again.
He then dismounts, picks up his bike and walks towards the car.
Since it was published, the clip has garnered more than 236,000 views and over 1,400 comments on YouTube. It also has over 37,900 hits on Stomp.
Cyclists whom My Paper spoke to said both road users could have misunderstood each other's intentions, and called for more public education on how cyclists and drivers should behave around each other.
This, they said, is especially relevant in the light of the Government's announcement last week of an islandwide cycling-path network spanning over 700km by 2030.
Observers noted in earlier reports that, while this will make cycling a viable form of commuting, cyclists will still need to use roads and pedestrian paths occasionally to connect to the network.
Cyclist Andrew Spencer, 31, who is from Perth, Australia, said the rider in the video looked like he had beat the red light. But the commercial pilot, who works here, said it would be safer for cyclists to move into the right lane early if they know they are going to make a turn, instead of "crossing lanes of moving traffic" later.
Mr Francis Chu, 53, co-founder of cycling group Love Cycling SG, said the cyclist's intention was possibly to create more "breathing space" and increase his "visibility" before the faster vehicular traffic caught up with him.
Mr Steven Lim, the Safe Cycling Task Force's president, said: "Cyclists are subject to a set of rules under the Road Traffic Act. But there is still a small group who deliberately flout the law."
Mr Chu said education to foster better understanding between road users should start from young, and he proposed a school programme similar to one in Britain.
"The idea is that cycling is a life skill...like swimming. Even if they don't use the bicycle when they grow up, they understand from the rider's perspective, what the challenges (on the road) are," he said.