Friday, June 25, 2010

Somebody asked Is riding a bicycle on the main road...

Is riding a bicycle on the main road dangerous to themselves and other fast moving vehicles?

and made the following comments:
I can understand that bicycle is very eco-friendly. But SG main roads are always very heavy around the clock. Even though there are special roads dedicated to bicycle riders but many riders still prefer to use the main roads and compete with the fast moving motor vehicles.

All the vehicle holders on the road must pay the road tax, why should there be an exception to the bicycle riders?

All motor-vehicle drivers who hug on the road will be summoned, but why should there be an exception given to the bicycle riders?

All the vehicle holders on the road have to go through high-way code and training before using the road, why should there be an exception given to the bicycle riders?

Do bicycle riders care about they are obstructing the traffic most of the time? Do they know that it is not only dangerous to the themselves but also to other motor vehicles trying to avoid them on the roads which are already very heavy?
My response:

Firstly, the question is not good. How about asking: Is driving a vehicle on the roads dangerous to themselves and other pedestrians? Yes or No?

They are different type of riders riding for different purposes. Those dedicated roads are not enough, in quantity/quality and for serving the purpose of commuting. Actually, main roads are the last choice to most riders, though many have not discovered alternatives and some trade higher risk for better convenient as alternatives may mean longer distance and time. Also, in many roads, when traffic can be fast, the left lane has low traffic, while when the left lane has more cars, it is usually when traffic is slow. So, the speed reduction caused by cyclists are quite negligible.

About road tax, first of all, it is not for the "permission" to use the road. Rather, it is for the purpose of maintaining the roads and the amount is related to the level of damage one's car would do the the roads. Thus, strictly speaking, the road tax for bicycle would be very very little. I have written more on road tax and bicycle.

I am not sure the exact definition of hogging. If hogging means a vehicle purposely travel at much lower than its normal speed, then we can't really consider cyclists hogging as their slower speed is their normal speed.

I think there is a line drawn between manual powered and auto-mobil, whether motorised or battery powered. For manual powered bicycle to required license, it sort of suggest that all pedestrians should need license. Actually, that is good, for their own safety. However, most licenses such as those held by doctor/lawyer/driver/etc. are there because these professions need to be monitored as otherwise they could easily cause serious damages to others. Comparatively, cyclists don't easily cause serious damages to others, while usually they are more like the victims.

If each of these "obstructing" traffic cyclists drive a car on the road, wouldn't the traffic become worse? OK, may be not all, but even 30%, or 10%, traffic should be better replacing a car with a bicycle.

As mentioned above, if the roads are already heavy, then how much more lag can cyclists cause?


wari said...

When a taxi or a lorry stops at the side of the road to unload passengers or goods, what do other car drivers do? They just take the other lane.

When a cyclist is using the road, should lightning struck down on him.

Anyway, I think it's due to more ignorant drivers that we get such comments.

I get the horn from drivers more than I used to over 15 years ago, and I think the roads were more dangerous then. Heck, I don't recall rude drivers the last time.

Back2Nature said...

Yeah, strangely, it seems that over the years,
a) more cyclists on the road
b) more drivers are aware and friendly to cyclists
c) yet, more voices/complaints from some drivers who are ignorant about cyclists should be on the roads

I guess the reason is there are more varieties of cyclists, and certain types/groups (possibly FWs, [big] cycling group, immature cyclists) make some drivers angry.

wari said...

As for big cycling groups (ANZA, Joyriders, Team Midpoint, etc), those people generally follow the legal rules of the road. They cycle 2 abreast on non-busy roads, but not taking the whole lane, and if the roads dictate it, they would cycle 1 line. I've cycled with the JoyRiders a few times, and they know what they are doing.

Foreign workers, well those Banglas along Admiralty Road West for example, they cycle slowly, keep to the left, but they do not have back lights, therefore you only see them when you are close to them driving at high speeds.

As for the other commuters, especially those chinese nationals (and of course some locals), they bother the pedestrians more, and they do not cycle on the roads. Have I told you I hate cyclists on the pedestrians walkway? I think I have :P

As for immature cyclists, I'm sure they are around, but I have not come across them yet, as a driver, and as a rider. But as a ped, gets on my nerves!

Back2Nature said...

I am not saying anyone is wrong, but the situation is just like that. Legally speaking, nothing wrong with cyclist groups riding on the road. They may also behave very well. Nonetheless, as a group, and likely stretch out a substantial length, expecially on quiet and likely narrow (2 lanes or less) roads, they affect motorists.

Another point, which may not sound nice, is that these groups are not commuting, unlikely training, but merely cycling for the fun of it, aka recreational. Thus, motorists are not wrong to expect them to go to PCN or ECP.

wari said...

> Thus, motorists are not wrong to expect them to go to PCN or ECP.

For that style of riding (training, recovery, or fast leisure riding), no one will do it on the ECP or PCN, you'll be too slow as you have to dodge everyone (peds, skaters, small cyclists).

Cyclists moving in a peloton are usually moving more than 30km/h and a huge group usually passes by a spot in less than a minute (2 minutes per km pace or 30km/h with at most 250-500m of cyclists) but in that 15 to 30 seconds, is just enough to test anyone's patience.

Since I'm a driver too, I understand, why car drivers are an angry lot. Something about driving that shoots your blood pressure upwards. I've learned to calm down, and not be angry at minor things.

If everyone treats cyclists as humans on two wheels, instead of an obstacle, roads would be much safer.

Heh, I think we've strayed too far from the topic at hand. I really dislike the "go cycle ECP!" that some drivers like to spit out at anger. They need to be stripped off from their car, and given a bicycle for a week for their transport, so that they understand that ECP is not the only place cyclists are confined to.

Back2Nature said...

Agree, "go cycle ECP" is an example that reflects the lack of understandings about cycling.

When I said "not wrong," it is when one considers the recreational use of roads being inappropriate.

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