When two-wheelers flirt with danger
Four wheels good, two wheels bad?
That seems to be the case from the Traffic Police's (TP) half-year statistics released yesterday.
Motorcyclists and cyclists were highlighted as some key areas of concern: in both categories, the number of casualties have gone up.
As an avid road cyclist, I can't say I'm completely surprised.
Last month, I was cycling towards Changi Village at about 2am when I thought I heard a wasp.
The high-pitched sound became louder, and then a blur of red and orange lights sped past so quickly that I felt my bike waver from the draught.
I'm not sure what left me more shaken: the speeding motorcyclist's flagrant disregard for the law, or the knowledge that MotoGP racer wannabe and I were one bad move away from becoming road kill and, yes, grim statistics.
On that same stretch just two weeks ago, another terror on two wheels showed up.
She was going fast on her expensive Italian bicycle. I tried to keep up but saw a red light and hit the brakes.
She just kept rolling on.
We caught up at a junction at Changi Village where turning buses forced anyone without a death wish to observe traffic rules.
"Please stop at the lights," my friend told the woman.
"Okay. Sorry," she replied and went on to beat the next two red lights. (For the record, there were pedestrians waiting to cross the road outside the SAF Ferry Terminal but were stunned into jumping back onto the pavement when she went barrelling past.)
She stopped only when she hit a stretch of road with heavy vehicles.
What is the point of having traffic rules and road safety campaigns, and asking people to respect those on two wheels when two-wheelers don't follow the rules?
We can take heart that such riders are in a minority, but it is this recalcitrant behaviour that contributes to the worrying statistics we are seeing.
Sure, nine times out of 10, nothing happens to them when they defy the speed limits or red lights. But what about that one time when the unexpected happens? Who then is to blame?
If you flout the rules, other people are less inclined to be courteous to you.
So while the Traffic Police figures show that those on four wheels have been doing better, it's time for those on two wheels to try to do the same.