What Lovely People We Share the Road With

After a particularly unpleasant commuting experience, I wrote to the Straits Times Forum about two idiots who violated bus lane hours and passed me way too closely. Surprise, surprise, one response was the ‘you don’t pay road tax so get off the road’ argument. I’ll accept the argument the day when you stop polluting the public air, raising the collective air temperatures of the island, increasing noise levels on the island, and killing people. None of the road taxes you pay goes towards removing your negative influences on our shared environment. It only goes towards building more roads and hence encouraging more pollution.

And another ‘if other people swerve to the right to avoid you they endanger other people and it’s your fault’ comment. Right. If it’s not safe for you to either pass me without swerving or swerve to the right, yet you choose to swerve to the right, it’s my fault?

My full letter below the fold.

I cycle home from work regularly along Thomson Road during the evening bus lane hours.
I am grateful that bus drivers behind me are usually considerate about either waiting behind me or passing me by a safe margin.

However, in the five minutes I spend along Thomson Road, I typically encounter three to four non-bus vehicles passing me in the bus lane, even though they are not turning left.

They do so because the bus lane is empty and they want to use it to overtake the slower traffic in the other lanes. Not only do these vehicles violate traffic laws, but they are also inconsiderate about passing me.

On Friday evening, two non-bus vehicles passed me at extremely close quarters.

The extreme left side of the road is frequently scattered with gravel, tree branches and other debris.

While we do our best not to obstruct motor vehicles, it is often necessary for cyclists to swerve right momentarily to avoid such debris. If a vehicle tightly sandwiches a cyclist between itself and the kerb, the cyclist may have no choice but to run into such debris and possibly crash as a result.

Furthermore, large vehicles like trucks, buses and SUVs have huge blind spots. Drivers of these vehicles do not seem very aware of, or concerned about, the fact that when the front of their vehicle passes a cyclist too closely and there is a bend in the road, the rear of their vehicle will be even closer to the kerb than the front is, leaving the cyclist with nowhere to go except the hospital bed.

Such inconsiderate drivers may save themselves 30 seconds at most by such behaviour – there is no gridlock on the stretch of Thomson Road between the PIE and Lornie Road between 7pm and 8pm on weekdays, which is when I am usually cycling there.

Is it worth endangering other people’s lives and violating the law to get to your destination 30 seconds earlier?

3 Responses to “What Lovely People We Share the Road With”

  1. 1 Back2Nature August 2, 2010 at 7:06 am

    Just stumbled on your post. Any updates? How is the situation now? Or you have found alternative routes?

    Actually, it seldom save them 30 sec. Of the many traffic lights, they will surely be stopped at one or two, and that will cancel away the time saved.

  2. 2 Ponder Stibbons August 2, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    I’m no longer living in Singapore, thankfully. As far as I know there are no alternate routes — Thomson Road is already an alternate route to the shorter but even more scary Lornie Road. There are no park connectors joining the northeast part of Singapore to the south or west parts of Singapore.

  1. 1 I Suppose One Last Car in Singapore « The Wannabe Economist Trackback on January 24, 2008 at 3:10 am

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