Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My cycling in Singapore experiences - on pavement

I have only been cycling on pavement more often since 3 years ago mainly because along the route I am traveling on frequently it is obviously a better choice for me and other road users, and there are very very few pedestrians on the those pavements. Also, it isn't a long journey so I can ride leisurely. However, I still feel that a better choice is to reserve at least a third of the left lane for cyclists to use the roads.

With these little experiences, I would like to share some opinions regarding cycling on pavements: read on...
  1. Since it is illegal to do so, cyclists should understand that we have absolute no rights to deserve pedestrians to give way to us.
  2. Even if it is legal to do so, cyclists should not expect pedestrians to give way to us by ringing bells.
  3. Just as a jogger, or a fast walker on pavement, if someone is blocking your path, just be patient and wait for opportunity to overtake, or made your presence known, but NOT by using bell.
  4. Cycle beside cars is safer (in the sense of less [near] accidents/collisions) than with pedestrians because the former are predictable, controlled by licensed drivers who seldom panic when they see bicycles. Whereas the latter are unpredictable, without license and traffic rules to follow, and easily panic.
  5. Avoid overtaking as much as possible, and only do so when really really really safe. I suggest the following criteria be all met:
    • You are riding at near walking speed
    • You are about 2 to 5 meters behind
    • Pedestrian noticed your presence
    • Pedestrian recognized your intention to overtake
    • Pedestrian gave way to you
  6. Beware of the common trap when there is another approaching pedestrian(A) in front of the pedestrian(B) who is unaware that you are behind. Naturally, A would want to give way and walk on the same side as B so that a path is open for you to ride through. However, also naturally, B not knowing you are behind and saw that A is approaching him will move to the other side of the path to give way to A. Thus, I suggests:
    • For cyclists, ride behind B in such scenario until A passes both of you, then you start to consider overtaking B.
    • For pedestrian in A situation, avoid creating the above trap.
    • For pedestrian in B situation, be aware that when a pedestrian shift to your side of the path, watch your back as it could mean something is approaching on the other side.
  7. Slow down to walking speed before reaching openings where you have to cross a road junction or use the zebra crossing or any pedestrian crossings.
That's about it for now.


procyling0709 said...

maybe you can choose more beautiful cycling jersey before cycling.that will add more fun in cycling.

Nat said...

This follows some of my observations too on this topic. I should add that even though it is something I do not recommend, sometimes, we cannot avoid riding the pavements. The whole idea of cycling is to reap the benefit of being nimble and that means hopping on to the pavement to avoid traffic hazard or to jump a light or avoid a long detour.

That said, I find the most danger to a cyclist comes when they try to ride through a Zebra or a lighted crossing. Cyclists tend to forget that they are a lot more faster than people walking. It is also very likely that the entire length of the bikes is not visible to the drivers. Cyclists can and often fall in the drivers blind spot. Coupled with the fact that drivers are not actively looking out for cyclists (not a complaint, it is perfectly natural) it is up to the cyclist to ensure that they get feedback from drivers before crossing.

I never ride on the zebra or the crossing unless I get a confirmation from the driver to cross. I stop at the end of the road and wait... Cars stop and wave you by, then I ride across. I guess being on a bike, one can catch up the lost time (if that is a concern).

Back2Nature said...

Indeed, the danger of riding across pedestrian crossing is not direct and many don't understand. When drivers look out for pedestrians, they check an area for any approaching pedestrians. The size of this area is based on the assumption that pedestrians are walking.

Thus, approaching objects at higher speed than walking that are not within this area when drivers do their check, and will be unexpected by drivers.

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