Wednesday, July 9, 2008

My cycling in Singapore experiences - Middle man

Cyclists are in the middle between pedestrians and drivers. We to the pedestrians is like drivers to us, and we to the drivers is like pedestrians to us. Thus, I again stress the important of any efforts to make better the cycling facilities MUST consult the cyclists, especially those who are also quite often a driver and a pedestrian.

In my early days of cycling, I hated pedestrians who ... like to stand in front of me when waiting for the green man to cross a road. I hated because they are delaying my time. At the same time, I found myself like to stop in front of cars at junctions. I stop in front so that drivers are aware of me, and since they have faster speed, I am not delaying much of their time.

However, later, I realized I was wrong. Looking at it from the opposite, it is better for pedestrians to be in front of me so that I am aware of them. It is not about faster or slower speeds, it is about length of traveling time, and therefore, the same amount of time delayed in percentage to a pedestrian (5 minutes of walking journey), a driver (20 minutes journey), and me as a cyclist (typically >30 minutes ride) is decreasing.

Recently, a common complain by pedestrians about cyclists on pavement is they zoomed pass me so closely. The same have been my initial experience on roads. I find cars are passing me so close and fast. Later, I realized that it is my own fear and not-trusting attitude towards drivers' judgments that gives rise to such feelings.

Slowly, I learned to trust that drivers did not drive pass me close and fast. It is more likely that they have judged that it is safe before they drove pass me. Similarly, I make sure that there is sufficient space and either the pedestrian is aware of me, or he/she is very unlikely to suddenly move sidewards before I overtake them slowly. Nevertheless, many of them were still shocked, and very likely I had been cursed and scolded by many of them.

Virtually all cyclists are pedestrians, and many are also drivers. Furthermore, as a cyclists on road and on pavements, we experience similar feelings of pedestrians and drivers, respectively, Thus, please do seek feedbacks and comments from cyclists.

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