It's been a hotly debated topic for a long time, but perhaps the latest initiative in the battle between cyclist and pedestrian will finally bring about some long-awaited (and desperately needed) change.
As I've written before, I once witnessed a young girl have two of her teeth knocked out after being hit by an errant bicycle rider speeding along the footpath on Woodlands Avenue 7, between Ave 6 and Drive 72. The offender at that time was more concerned with his broken cell phone which smashed on the ground upon impact, than with the well being of the bleeding little girl who had almost swallowed the bike bell (which he had been ringing with one hand while talking on his cell with the other).
Since that time, there have been many, many other close calls, and enusing squabbles and arguments (sometimes even fisticuffs) over bike riders' rights and safety, and that of the pedestrian, young and old alike, has done nothing to rectify the problem.
However, a few months ago, a secondary sidewalk was built on the northern side of Avenue 7, with some painting on the ground to indicate which path is for pedestrians only, and the one that is shared indicates for cyclists to slow down when approaching the stairs to HDB units. I thought this was a good start, but to date I have not noticed any improvements in habits or attitudes.
Then just a couple of nights ago, new sign posts were erected. What a wonderful initiative - seriously - advising cyclists to give way to pedestrians, and even to dismount and push their bikes through the 'hot spots' outside the HDB apartments.
The reason I am clapping with just one hand only, is that once again I have seen no change to behaviours... I still see cyclists speeding through crowds of pedestrians (on both paths), boldly and proudly ringing their bell to part the crowds - often without even slowing, many still talking on cell phones (this amazes me - how can someone riding at full velocity on a wet day, manage to ring a bell, talk on a phone, hold an umbrella, still think they can dodge the innocent people?). The pedestrians are quite often young children, infirm or elderly and sometimes oblivious to the danger - this saddens me.
I will bring the other hand up for applause when the next step is undertaken... my suggestion is that people breaking the rules should be issued 'warning' tickets for the first few weeks until such time that they become accustomed to the new regulations and signage. Then after that, why not start handing out very stiff fines for the offenders? - it would not take long before people start taking the issue seriously.
Unless action is taken to change behaviours, the investment in new pathways and widening of existing ones, along with the new signage and paintwork will just be a waste of money and time.
Woodlands Avenue 7 is almost there - let's hope we have the opportunity to stand up and cheer the initiative!!!
This path should be for pedestrians only:
This path is shared between pedestrians and riders (with regulations on the rider behaviour):
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
A long-term, old-school online presence coming out of haitus. Having lived all around the world, Florida is now home, everywhere we lived is in our hearts!