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Man versus bicycle on walkways

TAKING A RISK: When The New Paper visited the area around Woodlands Avenue 9, most cyclists did not wear helmets and were weaving around pedestrians on the pedestrian pathways. A police spokesman said that, from January to June, 47 writs of summons were issued to errant cyclists along the avenue.


    Sep 18, 2014

    Man versus bicycle on walkways

    ONE resident said she saw two cyclists colliding head-on.

    Another witnessed a near-miss between a boy and a cyclist. Yet another said she has had several near-misses with cyclists as they zipped by her while she was standing at a bus stop.

    All these incidents happened in Woodlands Avenue 9, and some residents said they have had enough of these errant two-wheelers.

    A reader wrote to The New Paper (TNP) to complain.

    The reader, who declined to be named, said: "Some of these cyclists ride in pairs and have conversations (with each other).

    "I've noticed a few cyclists with one hand on the handlebar while the other is holding on to a mobile phone. I've also seen motorised scooters in this area. I have witnessed a small boy (who) was almost knocked down by a cyclist."

    A police spokesman told TNP that they were aware of the cycling situation in Woodlands Avenue 9.

    In a statement, he added that, from January to June, 47 writs of summons were issued to errant cyclists along the avenue.

    Of these, 22 were issued to cyclists who had cycled on footways of public roads.

    The latest data from the Traffic Police showed an increasing number of fines handed out to reckless cyclists. Last year, 1,455 writs of summons were issued for offences such as riding on the footpath and rash riding, an increase from the 1,290 fines issued in 2012 and 1,238 in 2011.

    Last month, TNP reported that the East Coast Town Council and the police conducted a joint enforcement operation that saw 11 people being fined $100 each for cycling illegally in pedestrian-only areas.

    Regina Chia, 47, who has been working in Woodlands Walk for seven years, walks along Woodlands Avenue 9 to go home after work. She told TNP: "Someone or other would nearly get hit, maybe every two days. It's always been like this, but it's worse now."

    Another resident, accounts assistant Jannah Sehab, 26, said she saw two bicycles colliding head-on on the pedestrian pathway, resulting in a gash on one cyclist's arm.

    The area has industrial buildings, dormitories and residential blocks.

    When TNP visited the area last Thursday at 5pm, we counted about 10 cyclists - both local and foreign - streaming past every five minutes.

    Most, who were on the pedestrian pathways, did not wear helmets and weaved around pedestrians.

    At a bus stop in the road, at any point, there were at least 20 pedestrians and cyclists bottlenecked in the crowd.

    Residents said the situation is at its worst from 6.30am to 9am, and from 5pm to 8pm, as that is usually when workers are commuting between work and home.

    TNP saw only one cyclist, Indian national Deena Do Dayalan, 33, getting off his bicycle to push it through the crowded bus stop. He has been working here for eight years and lives in the area.

    He said: "The pathways get too crowded sometimes, and we know that it is dangerous to squeeze with the pedestrians.

    "Most of the cyclists here are quite careful and skilful. I don't think we speed; accidents rarely happen."

    Another cyclist, Lee Kai, 23, said: "I don't think we are going too fast; we are careful. If someone is on the pathway, we will ring our bells to alert them so we don't hit them."

    Steven Lim, 47, president of the Safe Cycling Task Force, understands that it is illegal for cyclists to cycle on pedestrian walkways, except in Tampines town.

    But he said cyclists and pedestrians should give and take: "Cyclists go on walkways because they might get hit by fast cars on roads. But when they go on walkways and are faster than pedestrians, they might hit pedestrians.

    "Cyclists should push their bikes or slow down, and pedestrians must not be complacent.

    "Instead of thinking only of our own convenience, we should be more considerate and coexist on walkways."