Have I been taken out by a bus ? [Yes]
Has a car overtaken me only to turn left and run me off the road? [Yes]
Have I been abused by drivers on the road? As in, “You don’t pay road tax, get off or lost…” [Yes]
“You ride to work?”
“Are you mad?”
“I would never ride here, it’s too dangerous”
These are some of the comments I often get when people find out that I ride to work.
Sharing survival stories is often empowering but the truth is in this context it is no fun as you know how close you have come to being either seriously hurt or killed. It’s equally frustrating trying to understand why the level of consideration is so low or recklessness so high.
I’ve been commuting by bike for the last 6 years as part of my contribution to Mother Earth and in promoting a sustainable lifestyle. Aside from sharing war stories I am often asked after how I stay safe.
So these are my rules or thoughts on safer riding:
- If possible stay off the road, use the park connectors, footpaths or secondary routes. This is a safety issue not a legal issue.
- Don’t ride near the curb or inside the yellow lines (as the LTA or some people suggest or state you must). If you do drivers (especially Taxis) will take this opportunity pass you and push you into the drain or the small shoulder of the road, and you will have an accident. The 1.5m rule or notions of safe passing do not exist for 98% of drivers here. In general ride about a meter or so from the curb. This provides some safety for you, raises awareness but allows enough space for cars to pass you but more slowly. In some instances it is a bike riders truism that taking the whole road is required to ensure that you are safe.
- Stay in front of traffic. This means at traffic lights you move to the front and you are first to go at the green light.
- Stay alert and be aware. I often see cyclists trying to be ‘small’, feeling or thinking that this is safe. They ride near the curb, looking straight down, and never looking around. It’s as if they think being ‘smaller’ on the road will make them safer. On the contrary. It simply makes you a bigger target.
- Make eye contact whenever you can. Just looking around is a good start but making eye contact is totally different. Many times I have noticed a car coming up next to me and I am certain they are planning to do the ‘classic’ pass and turn and drive me into the drain but having seen me look around, that I know they are there and having made eye contact the driver immediately reconsiders and does the right thing.
- In the CBD ride in the bus lane. At traffic lights make eye contact, wave and smile at the bus driver. Building rapport on the road is important.
- Follow road rules. Don’t ride against traffic. Stop at red lights. Signal your intention.
- Ride a Mountain or Hybrid bike. Unless you’re a good or experienced rider a road bike is just too fragile and isn’t as manoeuvrable as a Mountain bike. Of course you should also:
- Wear a helmet
- Wear bright clothing and/or use reflectors
- Use lights at night (or all the time)
Living out East my preferred route is to ride down the East Coast Park and then through Tanjong Rhu, then through the new Gardens by the Bay East (newly opened), across the Marina Barrage and then through Marina South to the CBD. This route minimises your time on the road and takes you through some of the greener parts of Singapore. This route also minimises your exposure to vehicle emissions and pollution. If you are forced to ride on busy roads a pollution mask is probably a good idea but make sure you get a mask that is designed for the job. That its particulate rating is high enough to filter out the nasty stuff.
Wishing you happy, healthy and safe riding.
SINGAPORE: The World Bank on Friday said the world’s oceans were at risk and called for a coalition of governments, NGOs and other groups to protect them, aiming to raise $1.5 billion in five years.
“The world’s oceans are in danger,” from over-fishing, marine degradation and loss of habitat, World Bank president Robert Zoellick said. “Send out the S-O-S: We need to Save Our Seas.”
About 85 percent of ocean fisheries are fully exploited, over-exploited or depleted, including most of the stocks of the top 10 species, he told the World Oceans Summit in Singapore.
Taking the Earth’s pulse: UBC scientists unveil a new economic and environmental index « UBC Public Affairs
“Singapore ranks worst out of 150 countries in terms of its environmental impact…
This is not very encouraging… But why is it so? Is it our cars, bags, shoe collecting obsession or our oil refineries that tip the scale?”
A growing world population, mixed with the threat of climate change and mounting financial problems, has prompted University of British Columbia researchers to measure the overall ‘health’ of 150 countries around the world.
Encompassing both economic and ecological security, high-income countries were ranked among the least healthy overall. Many countries in South America performed well, offering future generations better financial, food, water, and energy security.
The top five performing countries are Bolivia, Angola, Namibia, Paraguay, and Argentina, while the bottom five performers are Jordan, the Republic of Korea, Israel, Kuwait, and Singapore.
In a press conference Sunday in the aftermath of the flash floods, Dr Balakrishnan said “Personally, I think our weather has changed. I’m actually psychologically prepared for it to get worse”.
We take that as a sign of determination to be more active about climate change. Come on, Singapore – don’t just fix the drains, let’s fix the planet while we’re at it!
The waste data show that the efforts of the government in promoting waste recycling has paid off. However, waste disposed has been increasing slowly since 2003. To work towards zero waste, there is a need for the total waste generated to reach a peak and decrease every year.
This means that we can’t depend only on high rates of recycling but we also need greater reduction in the waste disposed, in other words, more reduce and reuse of waste. Recycling is still the least effective of the 3 Rs and should be practised last after reduce and reuse.
via Zero Waste Singapore.
Green Drinks Singapore is having a drinks and chat session at TAB Singapore, 442 Orchard Road, #02-29 Orchard Hotel (next to main entrance of Delphi Orchard) tomorrow 19 April 2011 at 7.30pm.
It’s $10 (includes two non-alcoholic beverages). Come and find out why we haven’t heard a peep about green issues from any politician of any color, creed and tribe.
OK, we made that up. But so are dozens of customs that purport to usher prosperity and longevity into our lives.
The fact of the matter is this – sharks’ fins do not add any flavour to your soup – it’s the other ingredients that make the soup taste what it tastes like. Stay away from it, and the whole marine eco-system will thank you for it, and you never know, you might be making your own luck by doing just that.