Pavement-hogging cyclists caught in the act
WITH the dispute between pedestrians and cyclists along pavements heating up in Woodlands Avenue 9, Traffic Police mounted an operation yesterday morning to nab errant cyclists.
At least 100 cyclists were caught within an hour and 15 people were issued fines of $20, Shin Min Daily News reported.
This follows a report last month by The New Paper that there were many cyclists riding along the pavements of Woodlands Avenue 9 and many near-misses with pedestrians.
Yesterday's operation began at 7am and took place at three spots in Woodlands, including a pedestrian walkway near Block 775 in Woodlands Avenue 9.
National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan, who is also a Member of Parliament for Sembawang GRC, was there to observe the operation.
Traffic police officers were spotted on the pavement and near a zebra crossing, issuing warnings to errant cyclists and taking down their personal details. Officers also reminded cyclists to get off their bicycles and push them along walkways, as well as gave out leaflets about road safety for cyclists. Cyclists were reportedly seen dismounting and pushing their bicycles along the pavement after the police stepped in. But some cyclists ignored the officers.
One resident, Ms Chen, said that many cyclists are very reckless. "My five-year-old son was nearly knocked down by a bicycle a few days ago. It was really dangerous," said Ms Chen, who is in her 40s.
A police spokesman said that when cyclists cause hurt to pedestrians, they could be fined up to $5,000, jailed for up to one year, or both. Shin Min reported that the pavement where the operation took place was narrow, but in a span of 10 seconds, at least 30 bicycles would pass by.
Before the Traffic Police operation started, some reckless cyclists were spotted, with two cyclists brushing against each other. Many pedestrians were also seen looking back frequently as they walked on the pavement, seemingly to look out for cyclists coming from behind.
It is understood that many of the cyclists would ride from residential areas to industrial estates between 7am and 8am to get to work.
Many cyclists interviewed by Shin Min said that cycling on the roads was too dangerous, so they decided to cycle on the pavement.
A foreign worker, Mr Chen, 32, said that every day, he would cycle for about 10 minutes to the factory where he works. "If I have to push my bicycle along the pavement, I would take at least 30 minutes to get to work," he said.
Construction worker Mr Lin, 22, said that it was dangerous to cycle on the roads as there were too many cars. "The cars travelling on the road are very fast, we can't possibly cycle on the road," he explained.
Writing on his Facebook page about the operation in Woodlands Avenue 9, Mr Khaw said that a cycling lane had been created for cyclists but there were still those who rode along walkways.
"This has been a source of great unhappiness among our residents in that precinct," he said. "I promote cycling but cyclists have to be considerate to pedestrians. The rule is simple: Please use the cycling lane and if you must use the pedestrian walkway, then please dismount. Certainly do not ring the bell and charge your way through the pedestrians, when you do not even have the right of way."