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Stuck between a road and a hard place

I'm sorry.

I know I shouldn't do it, but sometimes I feel like I have no choice but to encroach on the pavements meant for pedestrians during my work commute.

You see, the code on Singapore roads seems to be survival of the biggest. The bigger your vehicle, the more you can bully others in your way.

And me struggling to reach speeds above 20kmh on a three-speed folding bike is just small fry to the beasts zipping past me.

When you've had a bus brush past your bike within a hair's breadth to get into the bus bay or a speeding car edge so close to your bike you can see the dandruff in the driver's hair, you start thinking twice about sharing the roads with them.

As a bike commuter, I can understand why the cyclists on Woodlands Avenue 9 prefer the pavement. Jostling for space with two-legged walkers is preferable to ending up as roadkill to a two-tonne behemoth.

The problem is that once they end up on the pavement, some cyclists start behaving like the motorists they dread on the roads.

It comes down to jostling, rather than sharing, on the pavement. Cyclists see pedestrians as a nuisance in their way and weave past them or ring their bells in anger.

We call ourselves a first-world nation, but our road (and pavement) manners are decidedly third world, perhaps even worse.

While our cycling culture has come a long way and we are getting better at sharing the space, there is still a way before we become a cycling-friendly city.

How about speeding up the construction of additional cycling paths? And perchance a cycling lane on the roads?

For the record, I've seen the error of my ways and now ride on the road.

I'm still deathly afraid each time rubber meets asphalt, but I've learnt that bright clothes, hand signals and a smile go some way in keeping one safe on the road.

- ELIZABETH LAW

Share your views with Elizabeth at lawsm@sph.com.sg