Aggressive Bicyclists Are Disregarding Laws And Endangering Pedestrians

This evening while my wife and I were walking to the hawker for dinner, we were almost run down by a bicyclist.  We had stopped at the cross walk in front of Loyang Secondary School in Pasir Ris and waited for the pedestrian light to change to green.  When it did, we glanced quickly right to insure that the cars were braking and then stepped out to start crossing the road.

Without a warning, an incredibly fast moving bicyclist on the roadway sped through the red light and narrowly avoided running into us.  As he passed us, he made an angry grunting noise, as if we were the ones who were in the wrong for stepping into the crosswalk.

Do bicyclists in Singapore realize that if they’re using the roadways they’re subject to the same road rules that vehicles are?  If there’s a red light, they have to stop.  Plain and simple.  They can’t speed through and expect everyone to make way for them.

I shouted angrily after the man, telling him just that.  Of course, he didn’t stop.  Instead, he continued his dangerous behavior and swerved quickly onto the pedestrian sidewalk at another intersection a little further down the road, haphazardly weaving past other pedestrians.

Singapore is a country with low crime, and as such there isn’t a very visible, active police force.  Unfortunately, it seems as though bicyclists are taking full advantage of this fact to do whatever they want without fear of repercussions.

If the man had struck me and my wife it would’ve caused serious injury, like in the case where a bicyclist struck and killed a man, and I have no doubt he would’ve sped off just the same, leaving me to foot the hospital bills.  If he didn’t care about the laws to begin with, why would he stop to accept the repercussions of his actions?

Singapore’s police need to take a more active role in enforcing safety regulations.  Simply issuing these laws isn’t enough.  This is an ongoing issue that isn’t improving.  I wrote about this last month as well in a post called “Bicyclists vs Pedestrians, Battle For The Pavement“.  There need to be police officers along the roads, preferably in plain clothes, monitoring behavior and issuing citations.  Otherwise, who will ensure the safety of pedestrians?

15 comments

  1. U R WHAT U READ! · March 13, 2010

    two common phrases i hear all the time though. its the foreigners doing this or..write to the forum. i wonder if saying that makes any difference.

    the thing to do in my opinion is to be vigilant and cautious. we all know its not just foreigners who are reckless. the issue is cyclists who have no respect to pedestrians. we cannot totally rely on the police to monitor what these bastards are doing. just the same it would help if they knew that someone's watching them. thats how people are, they are more careful of their behaviour when they know that theyre being watched. sad but true. i hope not another old person or child gets run over by a cyclist for the public to realize the seriousness of this matter.

  2. Brad F. · March 13, 2010

    Agreed. The fact that so many laws in Singapore require you to bear the burden of paying for civil court proceedings is ridiculous. If laws are broken, the state should be prosecuting.

  3. Brad F. · March 13, 2010

    This is why NMP Calvin Cheng's speech about Singapore becoming too Western is ridiculous. People here don't even think the same way.

    Cost should never factor into protecting human life. It should just be done. Every crime, regardless of severity, should be punished. If there's a rash of lawbreaking, police should move quickly to intercept it, whether it's graffiti, vandalism, robbery, or reckless cycling that endangers people's lives and personal safety. If there aren't enough police officers, the government should authorize a higher budget to the police force to expand personnel so it can effectively do its job. Remember those stabbings? Think it might have happened differently if uniformed personnel patrolled the park, or at the least the general area regularly? I go weeks at a time without seeing police officers in Singapore. For all its harsh laws, it's effectively a lawbreaker's paradise because there's no law enforcement on hand to ensure compliance, and even if there is, the victim is burdened with paying for the prosecution in a civil court.

    How I think the system should change is that the police force should do its job and enforce the law adequately, in ALL areas, not just in areas that cost the government lost tax revenue. This isn't a slam on the police force, or how hard they work. This is a slam on poor resource management by the people in charge of the police force. The police can only do what they're told to do, and can only work with the number of people they have on hand. This change needs to come from higher up, and it's as simple as increasing the budget and hiring more officers.

    Additionally, what does the race and nationality of the people doing this have to do with proper enforcement? Nothing. The violators could be aliens that glow in the dark and their actions would be just as illegal, and no more illegal or more horrible than if a Singaporean had done the same thing. It disgusts me how with every single little thing that happens, Singaporeans are so quick to question the person's race and nationality.

    I really enjoy your last sentence, as it indicates that my desire for personal safety while walking legally down the street is wrong, and bicyclists should be allowed to do whatever they want and get away with it.

  4. AZNPride · March 13, 2010

    If you need a warrant to find him, you're really out of luck since he's probably a habitual lawbreaker and has disappeared somewhere. You do have a point about taking a day off, and not all people have that luxury, and some might even be embarassed to mention that to their superiors.

  5. RONW808 · March 13, 2010

    if you file charges, you have to be well off enough to take a day off from work to appear in court, otherwise your case gets dropped. On the other side of the ledger, perhaps, the defendant fails to make an appearance, and gets served a warrant.

  6. YUN ZHEN! · March 13, 2010

    How often is a life lost?

    I'm just trying to point out the other sides of this issue which you are not seeing.

    And most of these bicyclists are chinese foreign workers. It is perhaps a culture they are used to back at home. Just like how Americans are used to using a fork to eat instead of chopsticks. When the foreign workers came from their own country, they brought their living culture with them here. So there are other reasons for obnoxious bicyclists.

    Even if this problem involved one-off cases of loss of lives, and by your reasoning, makes this problem pretty serious, the police force still has to prioritize which problem is more important, which problem they have to tackle. They have a manpower problem as I've already said. Instead of having patrolling police, they have neighbourhood police posts. With a limited force, you simply cannot expect them to assign their officers to look after the pavements and your safety.

    Expecting them to do so, in my honest opinion, would be very selfish.

    Why is the system not being corrected? It's not because the police force is a slacker force, that's for sure. Perhaps the system does not need to be corrected? It is your view it needs to be corrected. But the problem is not a problem that will be solved by the restructuring of the police force. How do you think the system should change then? Since it is of your view the system should change. Why don't we put the commandos in charge of our pavement. I'm sure bicyclists will scram immediately on seeing their red berets, assuming they know what the red beret means.

    Why not write to The Straits Times' Forum? Tell them you almost got killed by bicyclists. Ask what the ministry of home affairs is doing with their men. Slam the ministry, and they are sure to give a reply (through the Forum). Won't that appease you?

    I'm only requiring you to look at this problem from other points of view too, not just yours and the pedestrian's point of view.

  7. AZNPride · March 13, 2010

    The wheels of justice grind ever so slooooooowly, and in the meantime, witnesses can change their stories, change their minds w.r.t. further action, can be intimidated, bought off or whatever, you get the picture. Its almost like the authorities are saying, the next time you get beaten up on the streets, either 1. Be rich enough to have your own security entourage, 2. Be an nth degree black belt in whatever 3. Be such a big shot that anyone wetdreaming of whacking you would be considered a terrorist rightaway! If not, you're nobody, the state doesn't care about you, so don't bother complaining.

  8. Brad F. · March 13, 2010

    Instead of mitigating and finding excuses you should instead be asking
    yourself why the system isn't being corrected.

    Some crimes are potentially more serious than others but that doesn't
    mean that 'lesser' crimes should be tolerated. Also, reckless cycling
    has caused deaths in Singapore. The loss of life and potential serious
    injury involved makes this problem pretty serious.

  9. YUN ZHEN! · March 13, 2010

    For all you know, the police might have a shortage of manpower. Not many people want to be police, even if they do, their ambitions do not include patrolling the streets. *shrugs* Who knows?

    Singapore itself does have a lack of manpower and with the army/navy/air force/mindef stealing all the eligible young guys in Singapore, the police/ministry of home affairs gets only the leftovers, and it's not a lot. Plus mindef pays their guys higher than the ministry of home affairs (moha), so who would want to work under the police?

    I believe moha would rather send their guys to crack illegal drug smuggling cases than send them to work as plain clothes police patrolling the streets for bicyclists who ignore pedestrians. It occurs frequently in some areas, but it is as of now, not a serious enough problem.

  10. Brad F. · March 12, 2010

    Well, you do know that in Singapore you can hit someone and as long as
    it doesn't cause them to fall unconscious then they'd have to take it
    to a civil court and bear the expenses to prosecute. I don't remember
    where I read that though.

  11. AZNPride · March 12, 2010

    I have a feeling they just don't care anymore, thus the number of road rage and assault cases that has hit the media lately. The best deterrent isn't the “We're sorry we can't do anything, BUT if you're really upset, you can go ahead a file a civil suit or magistrate's complaint against them. Its a non-seizeble offence you know…” cops, its probably a Steve Austin physique with a Vin Diesel look, now THAT would make them THINK before slamming a bike into you! In that way, US 2nd Amendment rights rulez! I don't care how fast you can cycle, you ain't gonna outrun a .357 slug with your name on it! 🙂

  12. Brad F. · March 12, 2010

    That's exactly what I'm worried about. For all the laws Singapore has, people here sure don't mind violating another person's personal space, with potentially serious consequences.

    I wonder if there's a petition online somewhere for people that want more active enforcement of bicycling laws?

  13. Liz · March 12, 2010

    You are absolutely right. The police need to be more active in enforcing the law. There are countless rude cyclists like the one you mentioned zipping past five-foot ways and ramps for the disabled in Bedok and Chai Chee estates too.

    Many times, there are motorcyclists taking short cuts through void decks and pedestrian paths. I was a victim of one such motorcyclist in January this year. He deliberately rammed on to me when I told him to reverse from the five-foot way into the carpark where he came from. He even shouted, “Are you crazy?” after committing the offence and sped off when I was about to contact the police.

    I had to pay the hospital a visit to get my wounds cleaned.

  14. Brad F. · March 12, 2010

    Good point. If they'd have to work smart, instead of just indiscriminately handing out tickets or the whole thing would be counterproductive. I wonder if this issue will ever be addressed? I subscribe to a Singapore news RSS feed that pulls stuff from lots of sources and oddly enough quite a few of the posts for yesterday were about rude bicyclists, some with stories just like this one.

  15. RONW808 · March 12, 2010

    undercover officers would reduce illegal bicycling, with a caveat. They have to make it a point to observe and specifically target the hazardous bicyclers instead of randomly tagging well mannered bicyclers who happened to be riding in an illegal zone under their watch. The retard bicyclers spot this, then immediately ride politely. Then as soon as they sense that the coast is clear, they continue bumping into pedestrians.

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