Curb white-collar driving on roads

(Because this is too good not to be parodied. I have left his grammatical errors untouched.)

THE explosion in the number of adults taking up driving on public roads, who are also usually well-educated, has swayed public opinion.

Drivers have managed to paint other road users, particularly cyclists, as irresponsible, especially in according drivers the right to endanger cyclists’ lives.

Yet every day, scores of drivers occupy all the lanes along Upper Thomson Road and other roads.

It takes only a single driver with his “reasonable” appeal to be allowed to emit noise and air pollution to disrupt optimum usage of a public stretch for other users.

It does not make sense to encourage driving on public roads.

I can sympathise with the poor blue-collar worker commuting daily from Johor Bahru but not the white-collar worker who lives an easy train ride away from her workplace. To those who still insist on driving, kindly stick to your video games at home.

It is safer and in the best interest of the public.

The original:

Curb recreational cycling on roads

THE explosion in the number of adults taking up recreational cycling on public roads, who are also usually well-educated, has swayed public opinion.

Recreational cyclists have managed to paint other road users, particularly motorists, as irresponsible, especially in according cyclists the right to use public roads.

Yet almost every morning, scores of cyclists occupy a full lane along Upper Thomson Road and other roads.

It takes only a single cyclist with his “reasonable” appeal for a 1.5m safe distance from a motorist to disrupt optimum usage of a public stretch for other users.

It does not make sense to encourage recreational cycling on public roads.

I can sympathise with the poor blue-collar worker cycling to work but not a recreational cyclist. To those who still insist on cycling, kindly use your stationary bike in your home or gym.

It is safer and in the best interest of the public.

Dr Terence Teoh

19 Responses to “Curb white-collar driving on roads”


  1. 1 lamer March 3, 2011 at 10:02 am

    Typical cyclist. Acting as though you were a big fuck

  2. 3 valen March 3, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    Let me start by saying that I am a Singaporean avid cyclist currently living in the US.

    The roads in Singapore being a city state is very busy and narrow. Hence, nothing against cyclist in Singapore but I think Singapore roads were never designed to be shared with cyclist – PERIOD. I can ride 40 miles in US with only a dozen cars or so overtaking me and feel very safe. Not so in Singapore! A dozen cars would prob overtake a cyclist in less than 1 min!

    I would actually suggest that bicycles be banned on roads during weekdays but during weekends, just like the bus-lanes, make the slow lane bicycles only – win-win in my dictionary…

    • 4 Ponder Stibbons March 4, 2011 at 1:05 am

      valen,

      I find it very interesting that your response to the road conditions we have in Singapore is to advocate banning cyclists rather than changing said road conditions. This is related to my latest blog post on modernist planning in Singapore. It is rarely recognised that the kinds of roads that Singapore has are due to conscious planning choices and are not in any sense ‘inevitable’, as evinced by how many other cities of the same size or larger than Singapore’s have successfully avoided such planning choices. Many cities responded to increasingly unsafe conditions for cyclists and pedestrians on roads by introducing traffic calming measures. There are also many other solutions, such as bike lanes. I find it very telling of the national mindset that the first response to anything that people find inconvenient is to suggest banning certain behaviour, instead of finding solutions. This is particularly egregrious in this case given that there is a tonne of research on the effects of traffic calming, bike lanes, etc. which almost nobody who talks about these issues in Singapore bothers to refer to.

      • 5 valen March 4, 2011 at 1:36 am

        I find it very interesting too that your first response is to use whatever works overseas and try to apply it without taking into consideration the fact that Singapore is the 3rd densest country in the world. There is just no space for a dedicated bike lane that will only be used by a very small population of cyclist for recreational purposes…

        If you read my full response, you would also see that I am recommending dedicating the slow lanes of the roads for bikes only use during weekends which meets both objective of a cyclist and motorist without the huge financial impact for the minority of the population.

        Again, don’t get me wrong, I am an avid cyclist but I’m also being realistic at the same time.

  3. 6 Ponder Stibbons March 4, 2011 at 1:47 am

    You’re advocating banning them during weekdays.

    Again, there are dense cities that have much narrower roads and less motor traffic than Singapore. See my post on modernist planning. The basis for comparison should be dense _cities_ and not dense _countries_. So we should be looking at places like London and New York City, both of which have recently gone on a major bike-friendly push.

    And I do not see what is ‘unrealistic’ about instituting measures like traffic calming or bike lanes if the efficacy of these are supported by research. Are you suggesting that the results in the research literature do not match reality? Are NYC and London not real cities?

  4. 7 Ponder Stibbons March 4, 2011 at 1:50 am

    I should add further that there is no evidence that modernist planning is any more space-efficient than, say, new urbanist planning, which is more bike and pedestrian friendly. So _even_ if you want to use the ‘singapore is different’ argument, you have to further provide evidence that modernist planning is a superior strategy for denser cities, which is a claim that few urban planning researchers today would agree with.

  5. 8 valen March 4, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    So, can you tell me this: IF a bike lane was built, how many of the 5 million Singaporeans would utilize it to get to work? You do of course realize that Singapore is 1 degree north of the equator, that rains Jan – Dec and has an average daily temperature of 30 deg if not higher and high humidity…

    You can quote all these planning studies research etc which again is absolutely unnecessary and dumb because at the end of the day, not many people would want to brave the heat and rain to cycle to work where there are no shower facilities. So, it goes beyond roads, and includes facilities at office buildings for shower.

    Come on, use some common sense here instead of quoting research! Fundamentally, cycling in Singapore would be limited to recreational and will not work as a transportation method to get to work! I lived in London before and I know that people do not cycle to work. Yes it might be bicycle friendly (barely) but using it for daily commute is 2 different thing… Maybe China or Vietnam, but again different reason why bicycles are important means of transportation there too…

    • 9 Ponder Stibbons March 4, 2011 at 6:12 pm

      1. That question you ask is something that should be found out by research, not making claims that are not backed up. In fact I know someone who actually conducted surveys and used standard social science methods to estimate demand for bike lanes, and she found a strong ‘latent demand’ for cycling. Why should I trust your ‘common sense’ more than her survey and other studies done in other parts of the world?

      2. Did I rule out including shower facilities? In fact there are many cities that include it as part of their transport plan. Chicago has one in one of its downtown parks, for example.

      3. I did say that London’s push towards bike was _recent_. Their recent construction of bike superhighways caused a 70% increase in cycling.

      4. I have biked in winter in both Chicago and Pittsburgh, and I commuted by bike over 20km to work in Singapore. I actually prefer biking in Singapore to winter biking in those cities. Yet I see more cyclists in winter in these cities than I do in Singapore, even outside the rainy season. I don’t think that Singapore’s weather is obviously worse for biking than in many Midwestern or East Coast American cities. Do you really think Copenhagen’s climate is that great for cycling?

      5. If you prefer to rely on your own intuitions rather than on statistical studies, then we cannot even carry out a reasoned argument. I carry out reasoned arguments with people on the basis that they are willing to back their claims up with evidence rather than simply claiming that that’s what they _feel_ is correct. In fact, particularly when it comes to transport planning, many ordinary intuitions contradict research. For example, many people intuitively think that traffic calming or complete removal of motor traffic along a road causes loss of customers to businesses along that road, because motorists have less easy access. But studies have shown that in most cases businesses actually gained customers. Intuition suggests that roads are more ‘efficient’ at transporting people, but when you consider space efficiency, bike lanes are far more space efficient — more people transported per square kilometer. Many people intuitively think that the best solution to traffic congestion in dense cities is to widen roads, but most urban planning research suggests otherwise. People have many intuitions about the efficacy of motor transport that are simply not borne out by research.

      • 10 Ponder Stibbons March 4, 2011 at 6:22 pm

        Correction: the study wasn’t to estimate demand for bike lanes but just for cycling. It would be nice if someone did a study on expected benefits of bike lanes in Sg, so that people can actually talk about evidence instead of hand-waving.

  6. 11 valen March 8, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    We are talking about 2 different things here:

    I don’t think cycling to work will take off in Singapore and even if it does, would be very limited and as such, not financially viable to do anything in the weekdays. To a certain extent agreeing with the original forum letter.

    Recreational cycling on the other hand, is something I believe we need to support which we can support through simple process of setting aside certain lanes for bicycles only during the weekend.

    We would need to agree to disagree then…

  7. 12 Gerald June 20, 2011 at 6:16 am

    would professional that cycle to / from work contact us?
    we are working with various govt agencies across europe to promote safe night cycling.

    we will be launching our product laserlitelane at the upcoming Bike-EXPo , in munich , germany.

    we need 18more professional cyclist that bike to / from work .
    please contact me for more details

  8. 13 Johnny Ho July 2, 2011 at 1:53 am

    Driving has already become an ingrained culture in our society. People loke to own cars, even if they have to borrow money for it, in order to improve their personal ‘wealthy’ image.

    So we should not discourage car ownership at all.

    Instead we should allow people who need to project a nice image of themselves through their cars, to own as many cars as they want.

    What Government can do is have a driving tax. Like a taxi meter.
    Which means in busy routes, at peak hours, drivers could be paying like
    S$50 per km. Of course its FOC driving in quiet roads. The driving tax rates change according to traffic condition. All these can be managed through satellite and GPS system for vehicles. Which means this system is distant based. The more you drive the more you have to cough out driving tax.

    Only when we are able to curb unneccessary and excessively driving can we talk about drawing up cycling lane.

    In some civilised countries, bicycles are already outnumbering cars. I think Singapore would be the same soon. Because our vehicular density is really
    unsustainable. For a tiny island. It’s ridiculous to see more people driving than walking and cycling. No wonder fat faces and big tummies are quite common among people who drive more than they sweat.

  9. 14 Raelynn August 21, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    my take is that because commuting on heavy traffic roads such as lornie farrer is quite dangerous, when there are practical facilities such as bike racks on trains and buses, you will see an increase in commuters riding bikes to mrt stations and on buses. saying that allowing foldable bikes on mrts and buses did not increase the use of bikes for commuting, or that foldable bikes are a good enough option is ridiculous because i do not see foldable bikes as an option that attracts it as a tool for commuting as the posture and nature of a foldable bike does not allow you to efficiently ride in the least amount of sweat needed to get to the nearest mrt station.

    • 15 Ponder Stibbons August 21, 2011 at 6:25 pm

      I don’t think posture or efficiency is a problem for foldable bikes; there are plenty of foldable bikes nowadays that offer the same posture as other non-foldable bikes, and there is no mechanical reason for smaller wheels to be less speedy, at least not to a degree that matters to non-competitive cyclists. Nowadays, there are even foldable bikes that are designed for roadies and touring. The bigger issue is that a foldable bike that offers a similar ride experience to a normal bike will generally cost much more than a normal bike, e.g. a foldable bike that mimics a road bike (say) would generally cost several hundred dollars more than the non-foldable road bike. In fact, this is the main reason I do not have a foldable bike myself. There are plenty of folding models I see that would offer as great a ride as my current non-foldable bikes, but I just cannot afford to fork out such a premium for the folding ability.

      • 16 Raelynn August 22, 2011 at 11:01 am

        ahhhh i see. i am under the impression that foldable bikes all enable riders to cycle in quite an upright position. however, i will have to disagree with the part about smaller wheels being less speedy.. my intuition tells me that mechanically, a smaller wheel travels a smaller distance given the same amount of pedaling on a bicycle with big wheels. for the small wheeler to be just as speedy as a big wheel, the cyclist will have to pedal much harder, that means more effort for the cyclist to travel the same distance for the same time, that would discourage pragmatic singaporeans, would it not? especially when harder pedaling means more sweating means higher tendency of having to take a quick shower before starting work in the office.

        i agree with your point about foldable bikes offering a similar ride experience to a normal bike will generally cost much more than a normal bike, and you have summed up my thoughts in a way much better than i wrote and that is my point about my previous post. because regular foldable bikes are not able to mimic the efficiency of a normal bike, and because the ones that are able to mimic the efficiency tend to be a significant premium that commuters are not willing fork out and rather stick to a non-foldable bike, until we see facilities catering to non-foldable bikes on public transport like buses and trains, bike commuters will have to rely on riding on roads where drivers are not very patient during peak hours, potential bike commuters are deterred from bike commuting.

        i am a motorist and recently got a bike to ride to nearby places for quick stops like last minute groceries or a cup of coffee because of the inconveniences such has finding a lot (sometimes i spend more time finding a lot than my actual purpose of being at that location) or worrying about the traffic warden etc. while i have no doubt that that bike will take care of me for further longer commutes when i start working, i do have my concerns about the safety of both myself+bike and other road users and hence i am personally discouraged.

    • 17 Ponder Stibbons August 22, 2011 at 12:28 pm

      No, you don’t have to pedal harder with smaller wheels. You just need to change the gearing ratio so that you need only pedal as much as you do with larger wheels. See the first question here:
      http://www.bikefriday.com/bicycles/faqs

      I agree that provisions ought to be made for people to bring their bikes on buses and trains. I just spent 11 days in Berlin, where there are many, many cyclists and they are allowed to bring bikes on the excellent subway and regional train system. At times the rear carriages would have 5-6 bikes in them, but crowding was never a problem—even during rush hour, it was still less crowded than the MRT at 10pm. So I think it’s really a matter of lack of political will on the part of MoT rather than any inherent problems with allowing bikes on buses and train.s

      • 18 Raelynn August 22, 2011 at 4:18 pm

        thank you for the link, it is very insightful and informative.

        i suppose MoT has more pressing problems to solve than allowing bikes on the public transport. how to allow bikes into the carriage when the problem of capacity hitting the roof is already pressing enough. i’ll laugh out loud if MoT says that non-foldable bikes are only allowed during non-peak hours, which would totally defeat the purpose.


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