On average, four cyclists a day were caught flouting traffic rules in 2018
Fewer cyclists hurt in accidents but more caught breaking rules The police said they issued 1,555 summonses for cycling offences in 2018, compared with 1,476 in 2017 and 1,335 in 2016. ST PHOTO: STEPHANIE YEOW

First, the good news. The number of road accidents involving bicycles that resulted in injury or death saw a double-digit drop last year.

The not-so-good news is that more cyclists have been caught flouting traffic rules, such as when they run a red light or ride on expressways.

In fact, an average of four cyclists a day were caught breaking traffic rules last year, according to police statistics.

In response to queries from The Straits Times, police said they issued 1,555 summonses for cycling offences last year, compared with 1,476 in 2017 and 1,335 in 2016.

These numbers were up from the 1,283 and 1,259 summonses issued in 2015 and 2014 respectively.

Some of the incidents came to light after altercations were caught on videos which went viral on social media.

In one case in December last year, a cyclist was filmed causing a traffic obstruction by riding in the middle of a lane and then deliberately damaging the left side-view mirror of a lorry that tried to pass him.

The cyclist was fined $2,800 last month for breaching traffic rules and for committing mischief. The lorry driver's court case is pending.

In February, a lorry driver and a cyclist were involved in a road rage incident which resulted in the lorry driver getting punched in the face when he tried to confront the cyclist. The driver, 32, was arrested for a rash act which endangered the personal safety of others. He had veered into the cyclist's lane, forcing him off the road.

The 55-year-old cyclist, who threw the punch, is assisting the police in their investigations into voluntarily causing hurt.

Mr Steven Lim, who is president of Safe Cycling Task Force, said some cyclists and drivers have a strong sense of self-entitlement.

"This group of people feel they are special and don't like to stop or give way to others. Some cyclists would even ride across cross-junctions. They think they can do what they like because bicycles are not regulated," he said.

"Drivers also fight over rights on the roads not only with cyclists, but also with other drivers. This self-entitlement mentality has to change."

However, things may be improving. Said Mr Lim: "Today we have more cycling paths, which are keeping some cyclists off the roads."

"With better awareness, motorists are also more tolerant of cyclists sharing the roads. We can see that bus drivers are more patient with cyclists who share the bus lanes," added Mr Lim, who is also a member of the Active Mobility Advisory Panel.

The panel was set up by the Land Transport Authority in 2015 to develop a clear set of rules and norms to facilitate the safe and harmonious use of footpaths and cycling paths.

Mountbatten MP Lim Biow Chuan, who sits on the Government Parliamentary Committee (GPC) for Transport, said he has seen fewer complaints about cyclists hogging the road on Nicoll Highway, for example.

This could mean that cyclists are more mindful of their riding habits and motorists have learnt to respect one another on the road and give cyclists enough space, he added.

Better infrastructure and greater awareness of traffic rules and etiquette may have contributed to the number of accidents involving bicycles that resulted in injury or death falling to the lowest since 2013.

The number of cases fell 16 per cent to 498, from 596 cases in 2017. There were 614 cases in 2016.

Singapore Road Safety Council chairman Bernard Tay said road safety talks the council conducted together with the Traffic Police have helped as well.

"We have conducted many talks in schools and for foreign workers on how to ride safely," he said. "We also tell foreign workers about the enforcement actions and penalties. The penalty will be a huge deterrent and they will be more careful."

Cyclist Woon Taiwoon, co-founder of Love Cycling SG, hopes people will exercise some patience.

"Occasionally, I meet some errant drivers who come too close. Whenever I feel threatened or unsafe, I will stop, get off the road and wait it out a bit. This is within my control. Even if I am in the right, as the cyclist I will be at the losing end."