Singapore

Caught on camera: Cyclists causing chaos at Woodlands Crescent

Motorist films errant bikers at Woodlands Crescent

Driving to work in the morning often feels like steering through an obstacle course for Mr Kenneth Xie.

Cyclists riding in groups, beating red lights or going against the flow of traffic are a part of the daily grind for the 30-year-old design engineer.

In a bid to highlight the chaotic cycling situation at Woodlands Crescent, where he lives, Mr Xie uploaded an edited 2½-minute video from his in-car camera unit, which captured what happened in 30 minutes.

It caught errant cyclists in action while he was on his way to work on Oct 23 from about 7.30am.

About 1½ minutes into the video, a cyclist can be seen stopping right in the middle of the road with a girl, who looked like she was wearing school uniform, riding pillion.

At one stage, numerous cyclists ignore the red light and swerve onto the next road.

At another, numerous cyclists ride across against traffic, which makes Mr Xie comment in the video: "I think they think this road belongs to their grandfather."

Asked why he put up the video, Mr Xie said: "I've seen these errant cyclists' negligence of the safety of other road users too often that I feel the issue needs to be highlighted."

The father of two is ultimately worried about the safety of his two daughters, aged three and six.

"I am worried to even let my daughters walk on the walkway because I am afraid these cyclists would hurt them," he said.

Mr Xie also alluded to a TNP report last year, which resulted in fines against errant cyclists in another part of Woodlands last year.

The New Paper went to the same stretch of road yesterday from 6pm to 7pm and found at least 20 cyclists riding against the flow of the traffic.

Most of them would turn in from Woodlands Avenue 9 - near the industrial parks - to Woodlands Crescent.

There, they would look over their shoulders and wait till the roads were clear before cycling to the other side of the road, against the direction of the traffic.

NOT PAYING ATTENTION

Some would even ride two abreast in tight spots, exchanging smiles and banter instead of focusing their attention on the road.

Occasionally, screeches of brakes could be heard as the cyclists reacted to an oncoming vehicle.

Like Mr Xie, those who live or work in the area are no strangers to such scenes.

Mr Josh Kyaw Soe Naing, 39, an assistant manager at Fortune Supermarket, said that in his four months of working in the neighbourhood, he has seen many careless cyclists on his way to work.

"I always see them in the morning. A lot of them seem to be rushing to work so I try to get out of their way," he said.

Admiralty Secondary School student Muhammad Ernaim Affandi, 15, agreed.

"When I'm on my way to school, I make sure I stay to the side of the walkway. Sometimes, they cycle in groups because I can hear a lot of bells ringing, and when that happens, I usually stop walking to let them pass," he said.

Ms Maricris Llamosa, who lives in the area, said that she was almost knocked down by a cyclist just last month at about 7pm.

She too, attested to the chaotic cycling situation at Woodlands Crescent and felt it put pedestrians in danger. (See report on facing page.)

Errant cyclists are fast becoming Singapore's new breed of traffic offenders, said Mr Steven Lim, president of the Safe Cycling Taskforce.

"These cyclists have the mentality that they are not motorists and that allows them to get away with traffic offences," Mr Lim, 48, said.

He added that even in accidents, these cyclists may feel that their actions will not cause any deaths.

Under the Road Traffic (Bicycle) Rules, cyclists are required to ride close to the left side of the road and in a way that does not obstruct vehicles moving at a faster speed.

They are also not allowed to ride alongside any vehicle, or two other bicycles, on roads unless they are overtaking.

The penalty for a first-time offender under the Road Traffic Act is a maximum fine of $1,000, or a jail term of not more than three months.

For subsequent offences, the penalty is a maximum fine of $2,000, or a jail term of not more than six months.

They are also expected to follow all other traffic rules.

Dos and don'ts

DON'T

  • Do not speed or ride in an inconsiderate manner
  • Do not overtake others in a dangerous manner
  • Do not cycle on footways, expressways or overhead bridges unless the pavement is meant to be a shared path
  • Do not cycle at high pedestrian areas such as traffic crossings, bus stops and covered linkways. Dismount and push your bike instead

DO

  • Install a front light and a rear light or reflector for cycling at night
  • Install a properly secured seat for pillion riders aged below 12
  • Obey traffic light signals
  • Cycle with flow of traffic when on roads
  • Slow down and give way to pedestrians when approaching intersections with pedestrian access
  • Slow down when approaching bends with limited line of sight
  • Stay on cycling path where available

Source: Land Transport Authority's guide to intra-town cycling

Past cases of errant cyclists

MAY 17, 2015

Mr Lim Choon Teck, 35, ran over Madam Chng Kian, 69, on a pavement at Ang Mo Kio Avenue 8 at about 7.20pm. She was left with a fractured elbow and wrist injuries.

His eight-week jail term was cut to three weeks after the Attorney-General's Chambers appealed.
April 18, 2015

A woman was knocked down by a motorised bicycle at a walkway next to Block 120, Paya Lebar Way.

It was only after she was taken to hospital that the woman found out she had a torn thumb ligament and fractures to her facial bone and eye socket.

SEPT 7, 2014

The New Paper reported on the cycling situation at Woodlands Avenue 9, after a resident complained about cyclists riding on the pavement, causing accidents and near misses.

It's safe, say cyclists

Some of the cyclists who were flouting the law spoke to TNP, saying they felt it was safe to do so.

A woman who wanted to be known as Ms Lu, 24,, said: "I think it is still quite safe because I keep a lookout for any oncoming cars before I cycle across the road."

The Chinese national, who works in the food industry, was one of those cycling in the middle of the road against traffic.

"People around here do it every morning and evening, so I follow suit," Ms Lu said with a shrug of the shoulders, adding that she was not familiar with Singapore's road laws.

Baker Lin Fu Fan, 32, who has been doing the same for a decade, agreed that it was a common sight among those working in the industrial parks nearby.

"It shouldn't be a problem as long as the roads are clear. I have been doing this for 10 years but haven't had any accident," said the Chinese national before cycling away.

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