Pedestrian: A little more respect please
KEEPING A DISTANCE: TNP reporter Gregory Loo (in black) says cyclists should leave a bigger space between them and pedestrians. TNP PHOTO: EDWIN FONG
As far as first impressions go, checking out the situation between cyclists and pedestrians along the Tampines Park Connector did not begin on a positive note.
Barely 30 seconds after starting my walk from Tampines MRT station towards Simei, a cyclist who was busy yakking away on his phone almost swerved into my path and collided with me.
If the rider had been just a tad more careless, I would have needed to leap off the path to avoid the bicycle even though I had seen him coming
I was on the designated pedestrian path on the left hand side when I saw the cyclist veer all the way from the right, his mind undoubtedly absent as he chattered away on his phone.
My colleague Elizabeth and I conducted our experiment at a time where human traffic was supposed to be at its peak, but there was barely anyone around me when this incident took place.
If this was Top Gun, I would definitely have chewed up the cyclist for buzzing the tower - an aviation slang for a jet flying as close to a control tower as possible without causing a collision.
No harm and no foul perhaps, but I was definitely irritated.
But as I continued my walk, the annoyance subsided as I realised that the offending cyclist was just one of a few black sheep who flout the designated lanes for pedestrians and cyclists.
Most cyclists were in control of their bicycles and did not look like they were about to endanger pedestrians.
And yes, there were some pedestrians who were guilty of walking in the cycling lane despite having their own space to safely walk on.
I do not blame either camp, as the sign posts along the way appeared to be sending conflicting messages.
While the two paths were clearly marked out with symbols on the floor, the sign posts said one was a "shared" path.
Also, as someone who used to cycle quite a fair bit, I know that no one goes out on the road intending to hurt anyone.
But I still wish cyclists would be a little more respectful about the space around a pedestrian.
As the cyclists ride past, we want a lot more space between them and us than they might think.
The tension between pedestrians and cyclists is real. But if everyone respects one another's space, we can certainly mitigate it.