Friday, September 14, 2012

Stiffer Penalties for cyclists is the solution?

I just find that if our folks in power do not experience cycling on the SG roads themselves, there is no way they can understand the issues cyclists face on the SG road. If no space is the issue, the more we need to start to change the infrastructure and use stuff that is more space efficient. Like a bicycle.  And perhaps we should ask why are all the developed countries embracing bicycles while the developing countries are choosing cars... and facing lots of issue.  Read this excellent article by Nick McHugh ... 

"Stiffer penalties for cyclists do not solve the problem

From Nick McHugh 04:45 AM Sep 14, 2012
The cycling community has called for more protection for cyclists who take to the road, and so the authorities are reviewing penalties for cycling offences ("Penalties to be reviewed", Sept 11).
Am I the only one who sees that this makes no sense?
I have seen some confusing riding styles here - I still cannot get used to people riding down the wrong side of the road - but punishing cyclists is not going to ease the situation.
Motorists calling for harsher penalties are simply trying to justify their lack of willingness to share what they see as their roads, by citing the behaviour of a few errant riders.
Consider this: Cyclists do not kill motorists. If a cyclist makes a mistake and is hit by a car, he ends up in hospital. But if a motorist makes a mistake, it is still the cyclist who suffers. Perhaps that is why the current fine is only S$20.
An arrogant, impatient motorist can kill and cause immeasurable suffering. It stands to reason that the penalties for dangerous driving should be much harsher.
Singapore already lags behind the rest of the world in encouraging alternative forms of transport, including cycling.
Many developed countries have recognised the destructive effects of fossil fuel-burning vehicles and massive motorway systems, and instead are encouraging closer communities and cleaner, healthier forms of transport.
Singapore's small land mass is an argument for cycling and against cars. Distances here are short and easily manageable by bicycle. If more people used bicycles, it would alleviate parking issues here.
A bicycle takes up less than 1/20th of the space taken up by a car. If more people were to cycle, we would not need so many roads, which cover an enormous land area, divide communities, cause noise and add to visual pollution.
Bicycles are also quicker, convenient and more efficient in a tightly-packed city.
Parliamentary Secretary (Transport) Faishal Ibrahim notes that not many people cycle as an alternative form of transport here, especially in the Central Business District.
As it stands, cycling in Singapore is tantamount to suicide. Culturally, there is an attitude that roads are only for motorists, and many of them make a point of not sharing. There is also a lack of facilities, such as bike stands, in the CBD.
Above all, there is a lack of respect for cyclists and the fact that they do not deserve to die. But rather than work out how we could all share and solve transport issues, we seem set on making it hard to cycle here.

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