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Woodlands residents complain of reckless cyclists

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 the bus stop.

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

A reader wrote to The New Paper 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 hand is holding on to a cellphone. I've also seen motorised scooters in this area. I have witnessed an incident where a small boy was almost knocked down by a cyclist."

She added that at a nearby bus stop, commuters have to look left and right before boarding the bus.

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

In a statement, he added that from January to June, 47 summonses were issued to errant cyclists along Woodlands Avenue 9.

Of these, 22 summonses 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 summonses were issued for offences such as riding on the footpath and rash riding, beating 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 on pedestrian-only areas.

Ms Regina Chia, 47, who has been working at Woodlands Walk for seven years, walks along Woodlands Avenue 9 to go home after work.

She told TNP: "I see someone almost get hit maybe every two days.

'IT'S WORSE NOW'

"It's always been like this, but it's worse now because the cyclists pass by morning and night."

Another resident, Ms Jannah Sehab, 26, an accounts assistant, said that on one morning, she saw 20 cyclists cycling diagonally across the busy four-way junction at the same time.

She said she once saw two bicycles colliding head-on along 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 along the road, at any point, there were at least 20 pedestrians and cyclists bottlenecked in the crowd.

Ms Jannah said: "The constant ringing of the bells is irritating. They are beside me, they are behind me and they are in front of me. I've heard the bells day in and day out for several years."

Her friend, Ms Hasanah A. Aziz, 28, who works at the same company, said: "It gets crowded, especially when there is construction and temporary dormitories are built. There is also a permanent dormitory further down the road."

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.

Another resident, who wanted to be known as Madam Siti, said: "Sometimes we don't notice them because we're concentrating on the buses. But why don't the cyclists signal?

"It's dangerous when I take my grandson to the bus stop... These cyclists could at least go behind (the bus shelter) and not in front because it's so cramped here."

TNP saw only one cyclist, Indian national Mr 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.

'ACCIDENTS RARELY HAPPEN'

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

Another cyclist, Mr 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."

Mr 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."

"It's dangerous when I take my grandson to the bus stop... These cyclists could at least go behind (the bus shelter) and not in front because it's so cramped here."

- A resident, who wanted to be known as Madam Siti

Cycling should be 'safe for everyone'

Tampines is Singapore's first cycling town, the only one to have by-laws allowing cycling on footpaths.

But its town council is also one of two that has been issuing fines to errant riders, reported The Straits Times after a check with all 16 town councils.

Since 2010, Tampines has issued 370 fines and 1,121 verbal warnings to cyclists for riding in a way that endangers others, such as speeding across bus stops and swerving suddenly.

Tampines GRC MP Irene Ng told ST that although its town council wants to encourage cycling, the experience should be safe for everyone.

Each town council has its own set of by-laws and can fine cyclists if they ride recklessly in common areas such as Housing Board void decks. The Traffic Police issue fines for cycling offences.

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