Monday, December 28, 2009

Legal vs safeness

The title of the news report, More cyclists caught riding illegally on footways focused on legality, while the contents, "accidents with pedestrians can result in serious injuries" highlighted safety concerns.

Strictly speaking, accidents with pedestrians are not only caused by bicycles on footpaths. Seriousness in an accident largely depends on the momentum, which is product of velocity and mass. Thus, any heavy enough fast moving object can cause serious accidents. Thus, even a teenager running fast enough may injure someone and him/herself seriously. Nevertheless, bicycles are heavier and able to travel faster than humans, although not necessarily.

On the other hand, I think putting cyclists on roads with traffic rules, where both were not designed for them is more dangerous. Comparing motorized vehicles on roads and pedestrians, obviously, momentum is much larger in a collision of cyclists with motorized vehicles than with pedestrians.

So, what's the objective of giving summons to cyclists on footpaths to force them on to roads? Is it just because the current laws and rules say so? Or is it for enhancing the safety of everybody?

We hope it is for the safety of everybody, but I don't think so. Exactly how many cyclists/pedestrians accidents, and how many cyclists/vehicles accidents have happened? Among these two groups, how many were fatal and/or serious? I don't have the statistics but it should be reasonable to think that the latter has more occurrences and also are more fatal/serious.

Thus, it seems to me giving summons is just because of the laws and rules, which I think are bias against cyclists, because forcing cyclists on to the roads are putting them at greater risks than what the risk of them towards pedestrians on footpaths.

I have two suggestions for safety:

1) To make it safer for cyclists to ride on roads. There is a need to study, update and revamp the current outdated bias traffic rules regarding cyclists. There is also the obvious need to create space for cyclists on roads.

2) To make it safer for pedestrians while allowing cyclists to ride on them too. I think a good way to deter riding fast are those sunk-in stripes that are on some stretches of footpaths in East Coast Park. When riding on footpaths cannot be fast, thus it is not time savings, it also encourages better skilled/confident cyclists to avoid footpaths and use the roads instead.


Nat said...

Bang on target. To me, it seems like it is a PR stunt by TP or who ever is issuing these summons. It is pretty obvious that it is a reaction to silly comments related to the Tampines Experiment. I read a few days back on 'concerned' commenters on the side effects of the Tampines Experiment. That somehow, the cyclist will be continuing their carefree attitude on cycling along pedestrian path outside Tampines.

The whole issue is handled out of context by people who do not use cycling as some form (not even primary mode) of transport. Isn't it true that even in tampines, Cyclist is expected to exert caution when approaching a crowded area?

This is a classic case of educating the victims rather than putting effort on making safer roadways.

Bah, humbug. I cannot care less. The stunt will stop in a few days. How many of such stunts have already been through. I wonder if there are sensible policy makers thinking through these issues or just a bunch of reactive and clueless middle managers trying to please public opinion.

Back2Nature said...

Thanks for the positive comment. I suppose the LTA people should be the sensible policy makers, but all they has done so far is to repeat the same "land scarce" excuse.

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