Islandwide road safety drive targets cyclists, pedestrians too

Islandwide road safety drive targets cyclists, pedestrians too
From left: Singapore Kindness Movement's William Wan; Singapore Road Safety Council's Bernard Tay; Parliamentary Secretary (Home Affairs) Amrin Amin; Traffic Police commander Sam Tee; and Land Transport Authority's Chin Kian Keong, launching the 2017 Safer Roads campaign. Photo: Kenneth Cheng

Islandwide road safety drive targets cyclists, pedestrians too

There is a need to go beyond abiding by traffic rules to do what’s right, says Traffic Police commander Sam Tee

SINGAPORE — It will not just be motorists, but cyclists and pedestrians who will be among the target groups for the fourth edition of the Safer Roads campaign.

The theme this year: “Choose Graciousness”. On the drive to get all road users to be more gracious, Traffic Police commander Sam Tee said: “We’re not giving way enough on the road (and) we’re not gracious enough.”

Senior Assistant Commissioner (SAC) Tee also said before the launch event on Tuesday (March 21) at Our Tampines Hub complex that while Singapore’s low record of fatalities on the roads was comparable to that in developed countries such as Switzerland, there was a need to go beyond abiding by traffic rules. 

Dr Chuai Chip Tiong, director of traffic and intelligent transport system operations at the Land Transport Authority (LTA), said that cycling has been an important part of Singapore’s transport landscape, particularly as the country presses ahead with its goal to go car-lite.

Noting a trend towards road users behaving badly, he added that finding opportunities to remind and educate them on the “right way to use the roads” was key. The police told TODAY that there were 19 fatal accidents involving cyclists and pillion riders last year, slightly higher than the 17 cases in 2015. 

The number of accidents in which cyclists and pillion riders sustained injuries, however, dipped from 618 to 593 between 2015 and last year. 

When asked why users of personal mobility devices (PMDs) were not a target group given their prevalence, SAC Tee said that the campaign’s theme applied generally to all users. “Likewise, (PMD users) should also be gracious,” he said. 

Speaking at the launch, Parliamentary Secretary (Home Affairs) Amrin Amin said: “It’s up to us to consciously and actively try to be gracious to others... Kindness begets kindness, and we can start a ‘virtuous circle’ in which we become more gracious and safer on our roads.” 

Mr Amrin’s advice for road users? Pedestrians could pay greater attention to traffic conditions, instead of fiddling away on their mobile devices when crossing the road. Motorists could be patient when elderly pedestrians take a longer time to cross the roads, and be more mindful of cyclists. 

Cyclists, he added, could take greater care when sharing paths with pedestrians. 

This year’s campaign — organised by the Traffic Police, Singapore Road Safety Council, LTA and Singapore Kindness Movement — will feature a series of road-safety videos that will be published on social media platforms such as YouTube. Banners aimed at the different groups will also be put up on lampposts across the country. 

For instance, one targeted at cyclists reminds them to take the time to check for oncoming traffic instead of hurrying to make a turn. 

Dr William Wan, general secretary of the Singapore Kindness Movement, said that campaigns alone do not make a difference unless people took action. “A campaign is just a way to get us to be aware, to be mindful, and then to take ownership,” he added. 

While the number of fatalities on the roads has been on a steady fall and is at its lowest point since the 1980s, the number of people hurt in road accidents has gone up in recent years. 

Last year, there were 141 fatalities on the roads, down from 168 in 2012. The number of people injured, however, stood at 10,582 last year, up from 9,751 in 2013.