Errant on expressways

Errant on expressways

Cyclists on our roads are common, especially on weekends.

But some cyclists are choosing to pedal on expressways instead.

In the latest display of errant cycling behaviour, a group of cyclists were spotted riding on the Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway (KPE) at night.

It is unknown which day it occurred, but a driver captured their antics on his car's dashcam video and uploaded the footage on YouTube last Friday.

In the video, the driver, who was driving on the left-most lane of the KPE tunnel, suddenly encounters a cyclist on his left, forcing him to filter lanes to give the cyclist a wider berth.

The driver then exits the tunnel before driving past a group of over 20 cyclists riding in a single file along the road divider.

Cycling on expressways is extremely dangerous, said Mr Steven Lim, 48, president of the Safe Cycling Task Force.

He told The New Paper: "The reason why it's illegal is because vehicles drive at higher speeds than on normal roads.

"The rules are meant to protect road users. If you break the rules, you give up the right to be protected."

Cyclists should not assume it is safe to ride on roads at night because there is less traffic, he said.

"If cyclists think that way, so will motorists, and they may drive even faster."

This video comes after an even bigger group of cyclists were filmed hogging the road and changing lanes at will along Sengkang East Drive in February.

They were also cycling more than two abreast, forcing cars to come to a stop to give way.

Such big groups of cyclists are a major cause of concern for motorists like Mr George Ng, 55, who has been driving for more than 30 years.

He told TNP after watching the video that errant cycling behaviour often rears its ugly head when cyclists ride in large numbers.

"They have no regard for the law. They think they can do anything they want because they have strength in numbers," he said.

HERD MENTALITY

This mindset may stem from a herd mentality, Mr Lim explained.

"Sometimes, cyclists are worried that they'll lag behind the group. So they tend to follow the rest.

"If one chooses to beat the red light, others may follow suit."

Both motorists and cyclists have a part to play in keeping our roads safe, he said. While he does not condone the actions of the cyclists in the video, Mr Lim said that drivers like Mr Ng must learn to accept cyclists as valid road users.

He said: "For a long time, there were no cyclists on the road.

"A whole generation of drivers are not used to sharing the roads and may try to assert themselves against cyclists."

Mr Aloysius See, 25, a credit card operations officer, knows this first-hand.

The avid cyclist, who rides every weekend, was knocked down by a driver nine months ago.

Although he escaped with minor abrasions, the incident has taught him to take personal responsibility for his safety.

He said: "Even if I'm careful, I can't ensure that other motorists are careful too. So I just have to make sure that I obey the rules to maximise my safety."

Mr Daryl Chan, 34, an administrator in cycling group Team Midpoint, which has up to 50 riders turning up for team rides, said that riding in bigger groups may actually be safer for cyclists. "There is a greater sense of security since a bigger group should result in more lights, making the entire group more visible to other road users.

"They also tend to help one another look out for hazards on the road, making it somewhat safer for the individual riders in the group."

Still, to ensure safety, the size of each Team Midpoint group does not exceed 20 riders.

"If the group is too big, they will usually be broken up into smaller groups," Mr Chan said.

"The rides are also led by ride leaders who planned the route and are experienced.

"There will usually be an experienced rider at the back too."

Lawyer Raphael Louis told TNP that those cycling on expressways may be charged under Section 279 of the Penal Code for driving in a rash manner which endangers human life or causes hurt or injury to any other person.

"Under Section 2 of the Road Traffic Act, a cyclist qualifies as a driver.

"So technically, they can be fined up to $5,000."


This article was first published on April 11, 2015.
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