No 'Sunday ride' for these uniformed bikers
These uniformed officers deal with emergencies and help keep our roads safe
As a student, I daydreamed a lot about scoring a job that involves riding a motorcycle.
I was fascinated by the Traffic Police escorting the President on National Day.
I also liked the idea of being a reconnaissance trooper, because it seemed so cool to bash through trails in the forest.
But when my mother discovered that I was about to start work as a part-time pizza delivery rider when I was 18, she made me return the uniform.
In the last three years, I have been fortunate to meet and ride with people who call the roads their office. Here are three uniformed jobs that guarantee hours in the saddle:
RAPID DEPLOYMENT TROOPS
They are among the latest police counter-terrorism units to be introduced. The officers ride the BMW F800GS and are armed with assault rifles and pistols.
They look menacing in their all-black uniform and bullet-proof vests. You can occasionally spot them riding in a pack.
These masked troopers will be deployed to support first responders in a terror incident. They train by riding up stairs, going off-road and squeezing past tight spots.
The officers also shoot a lot at a special indoor range in Mandai. They are capable of shooting on the move or dismounting quickly to engage targets.
It is impressive to observe how they storm a bus taken over by "hijackers". The manoeuvre is quick and violent.
But candidates for this unit must be fit and highly competent in riding a motorcycle with a pillion. The job is guaranteed to be no "Sunday ride" - only the dedicated need apply.
SINGAPORE CIVIL DEFENCE FORCE (SCDF) FIRE BIKERS
Technically, SCDF fire bikers will never lose their balance on their three-wheeled Piaggio scooters.
The scooter is a formidable platform as it can pack heavy equipment needed to deal with fires and medical emergencies such as road traffic accidents.
Each fire biker - there are 180 trained fire bikers spread across 30 bases islandwide - is equipped with a 25kg compressed air foam (CAF) system, a 15kg forcible-entry tool bag and a medical pack.
In a fire scenario, fire bikers such as Staff Sergeant Md Hilmi Md Fuad are required to run to the scene with the CAF system, a breathing apparatus and the forcible-entry tool bag.
To qualify as a fire biker, one needs to go through a two-week course to understand how thescooter performs under additional loads.
It seemed like fun until I wore thefire-proof uniform and carried the CAF system backpack. My attempts at running a short distance with the gear only proved that I was unfit.
A fire biker often finds himself in the line of fire, literally in a sense, when responding to an emergency. Fitness plays a large part in this job.
If you cannot take the heat, this may not be the job for you.
It is amazing how well-behaved motorists are when they spot a Traffic Police officer in their rear view mirrors.
Traffic cops on motorbikes are a familiar sight on our roads as they go on patrol or attend to accidents.
On one assignment three years ago when I rode with a Traffic Police officer, I was surprised that some motorists seem to think nothing of blatant infractions.
Ignoring traffic regulations or having poor motoring habits can have serious consequences.
One motorist was so engrossed in a conversation that he did not notice a traffic cop approaching on his motorcycle. Another drove his lorry without wearing a seat belt.
There are cameras on the 900cc Traffic Police motorbikes.
From his motorcycle, a traffic cop is capable of gauging how fast a motorist is travelling.
Other than enforcement work, a traffic cop also engages motorists to raise awareness on road safety.