So, I have always been interested in completing my riding lessons and to get a bike. It’s a childhood dream, that wooohooo when I saw Batman with his Batpod in the Dark Knight movie. That is a badass machine that will be so powerful. But my mum was reluctant to let me go for my lessons.
I am usually concerned with the riding culture, and have discussed with my biker friends with regards to having safe riding experiences. The main concerns that they raised is that of tailgating from cars especially the capital B cars. The road culture in Singapore nowadays do have some problems in ensuring the riders safety. So today’s questions come in.
- Why is it so dangerous on the road.
- What can we teach to prevent such adversities to the riders and ensure a safe and respectful road culture?
1. Why is it so dangerous on the road?
The Chinese has a saying, it’s better to drive than ride. The metal envelops the homo sapiens in cars but in the case of riders, the homo sapiens protects the metal of the bike.
Lets look at the statistics,
Data taken from Statistics Singapore transport 2016
Therefore, the drivers are actually more at risk at having accidents. Then the question still persist, why is it unsafe to drive and ride on our roads?
I personally feel that there are 4 main issues here is,
- The hectic life of Singaporeans. That kiasu culture. Like seriously, everyone drives from point to point. Thanks to the hectic lifestyle of Singaporeans, many are either commuting back to work in the morning with a not so passionate feeling (monday blues especially), and back home / heading towards functions. We are always rushing from one location to another. This makes people less patient on the road. We had seen many of our own fathers and friends behind the wheel cursing and swearing on the road due to others drivers.
- On the contrary, the road culture is too ‘safe’. Let me elaborate a little further. Put yourself in this situation. If you have a child, lets call her Jennifer and to guide Jennifer, you tend to hold her hands, and pull her away from any obstacles. But your best friend’s child, lets call him Johnny. Your buddy doesnt bother to preempt Johnny, and just hold on the tiny hands of Johnny, worse still, he laughs at Johnny when Johnny do not know how to avoid banging into the wall. So, which child, Jennifer or Johnny will be more likely to be able to avoid a pillar when they are running in a playground? Definitely Johnny isnt it? Johnny had been on his own to look out for the dangers, and learnt the hard way. Singapore roads are too ‘safe’ (by safe i meant structured) , as compared to other countries, there are too many road regulations by LTA to ensure that there is road safety. This actually take away the drivers’ and riders’ instinct to look out for danger. It’s this numbing effect that we no longer pre-empt ourselves on the road. Lets compare the situation to our neighbouring country Malaysia. Although they do not have traffic / road conditions as well as Singapore, Malaysians are generally more conscious about the road, and other road users. I had so much relaxation and fun as a pillion in a road trip to Malacca and riding around the town, I actually tensed up when i crossed back to Singapore customs. It suddenly felt like it’s more dangerous on the road here. The drivers are less polite and more reckless, and did i mentioned tailgating?
- Tailgating culture. This. Is. Why. It. Is. Dangerous. Here. As an observer of the road, as i neither drive or ride, I can still sense when there are some ASS**** drivers that like to tailgate others, to either chok chok other road users for a race / challenge, or to ‘destress’ by venting it on the road. This is actually one of the main few fuels that causes alot of stress on both drivers due to bad temper management and bad road usage as both parties may be too focused on the race. This usually end up having repercussion on other uninvolved road users, as the involved parties weave in and out of lanes.
- My ah gong road. Some users are just so arghhhh. They think that it is their ah gong road by going too slow a pace in the highway or just randomly stop or change lane without any signals. A buddy of mine actually got into an accident due to that ‘grandma’ who was driving a van going too slow and halted to a stop on the highway and left a huge gap between the vehicle in front of her and hers. The accident is totally avoidable if she did not hog the lane with her speed.
What can we teach our kids to prevent such adversities to the riders and ensure a safe and respectful road culture?
It’s simple. It starts from young. There is this article written by a parent that shared how they cultivate good road safety culture, especially for the riders. On the road, both the dad and the children, will have a game. To count the number of riders on the road. He realised that, through this game, the more bikes his kids count the more they are likely to watch out for the riders. He himself actually started to look out for the riders too when they are enjoying the different stylish bikes that they had seen on the road. The purpose having this game is just to make it a conscious effort to highlight the more vulnerable road users on the road so that when the kids are old enough, they will be spotting the riders subconsciously. Talk about habits. (WINK you know what i mean 😉 ) Simple as it is.
The above is one method. Other methods are more of cultivating good manners and good temper managements which eventually will go to being a good road user. Dont you agree?