In Singapore, motorists and cyclists seem to have an increasingly complicated relationship. In April this year, Mediacorp actor Tay Ping Hui made the news when he documented a bunch of cyclists behaving irresponsibly on the road. In his own words: he “had to jam on the brakes to avoid killing them, and the best part was they looked at (him) like it was (his) fault.” The actor also suggested it was high time all bicycles in Singapore should be registered.
And it seems like he’s not the only one who thinks so – In a recent poll by Facebook group SG Road Vigilante, it appeared that close to 90% of approximately 5,300 respondents agreed that they wanted bicycles to be registered with a proper license plate and insurance.
Here at BRZE, we’re all for road safety, so until the day all cyclists need to be registered, what else can be done to aid users of the road? Here are 10 things cyclists can easily do:
1. Ride in single file
While riding two or three abreast might be alright to do on a PCN on a Tuesday afternoon, doing this on the road is pure inconsideration. Motorists are traveling at double, maybe triple your speed, and like it or not, having a bunch of cyclists hold up traffic is like queuing at an MRT gantry behind a herd of Ah Mas whilst you’re rushing. Keep to single file, please!
2. Slow down among pedestrians
We’ve all experienced this before – We’re minding our own business, strolling leisurely down a pathway when all of a sudden, we get the wind knocked out of our souls by a cyclist who whizzes by and misses you by mere inches.
Please, cyclists! If you have to mount a sidewalk, it is so important to ring your bell to warn pedestrians, and to never speed around or through them (yes, we’ve seen you). Children and the elderly are extra vulnerable, and one bad crash could result in horrific outcomes. Plus, you wouldn’t like to end up in jail, right?
3. Respect your
grandfather’s shared road
That means no whizzing by red lights or blatantly flouting traffic rules. Drivers sometimes get really angsty because various cyclists have taken advantage of the fact that they get away scot free for legit misdemeanours. On top of that, it’s no fun for motorists to know that in the case of an accident, chances are it’ll be the motorist’s fault instead of the cyclist’s. One simple and effective key is to act like a car.
4. Wear anything but black
If you have a penchant for dark clothes and an aversion toward using tail and headlights, sorry, but what are you doing, Vlad Dracula?
A cyclist without the appropriate gear is invisible to drivers up till the very last moment, so if you don’t want to be road splatter, please invest in bright clothing, high visibility vests, and the like – strapping reflective velcro onto your ankles is one great way of increasing visibility as the movement of your legs will make you easy to spot from a distance. Black is for funerals, and we don’t want it to be yours, darling.
5. Wear a reliable helmet, for godsakes
A helmet greatly reduces the risk of serious head injuries, and we don’t know about you, but we already feel like we don’t have brain cells enough and can’t afford to lose any. Make sure you don’t reuse a helmet that’s already been damaged in a crash, and that it is a quality helmet that fits you well. Got a lose helmet? Drop-et.
6. Use your brain, and hands
As we said earlier, one of the best practices of cycling on the road is to act like a car. In this case, you need to indicate like a car. Use your hand signals, please, and do it in a timely manner. Some cyclists tend to brashly assume that vehicles can always tell if they’d like to turn, change or merge lanes. Please don’t put others in a situation where they have to aga-aga.
On another note, since we’re talking about hands: Keep both of yours on the handlebar. No texting, no theatrics, no overconfidence – And you’re good to go.
7. Get equipped, stay equipped
Here are some things we think every cyclist needs to have:
- A Road ID: In the case of an emergency, this’ll let others know crucial details like your emergency contact, blood type, allergies and more.
- A saddle bag: This should include a multitool, 2 tyre levers, 2 spare tubes, and a patch kit if you frequently cycle on rough terrain.
- A bottle of common sense. This is non-negotiable.
Along with having your vital kit, make sure you check your bicycle regularly – Are your spokes tight, your tyres pumped, and your brakes working efficiently? You’re welcome.
8. Stay out of blind spots & vulnerable positions
Especially when it comes to buses and trucks that have a much larger blind spot than cars, make sure you position yourself safely. One good rule of thumb is to make sure you can see the side mirrors of motorists you’re cycling near to – if you can’t, they won’t be able to see you either.
You’re also going to want to watch out for parked cars, keep yourself from being too near a curb, and slow down at intersections (especially the extra busy ones).
9. Exercise a little thing called strategy
Little things like researching your route before you head out to ride (you can use apps like Google Maps, MapMyRide or RideWithGPS) helps keep you safe because you’ll be confident and familiar, and also run a lower chance of getting yourself in a crunch due to unexpected routes, traffic jams, road closures or other not-so-fun stuff like that.
10. Get your head in the game
This means saying goodbye to loud, blaring music from your earphones, texting while cycling (why?) and putting off getting a phone mount for your bike. If your phone rings, and it’s an important call, stop your bicycle at an appropriate time and place before you start chinwagging.
With all the above mentioned, we’d like to take a moment to acknowledge cyclists who’ve been taking great care to be safe and responsible. We take our hat off to you! And for cyclists new and old: We love you. Thank you for doing your part to make the road a safer place for everyone.