If your immediate answer is ‘no’, you wouldn’t be alone in thinking so.
Instances of bicycle abuse – errant parking being but one example – have been regularly making headlines and showing up the ugly side of Singaporeans when it comes to sharing public spaces.
Reports of haphazardly parked bicycles at common areas such as footpaths and bus stops, or leaning against handrails and traffic lights, are aplenty. Their main gripe: the obstruction and inconvenience caused to fellow residents or neighbours.
See those photos of bicycles haphazardly along the corridor and street above? Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of those who walk, cycle or ride at these spaces.
Imagine a son helping his elderly father down the staircase, only to be greeted by a barricade of bicycles that can potentially trip his father. Or, a mother pushing a stroller to catch the bus, and forced to carefully sidestep an obstacle course which could also pose a danger if the bicycles fell onto the pram.
Still don’t think such casual acts of errant parking could have real – not to mention, alarming – consequences to public safety?
Much as we loathe to admit it, this picture of irresponsibility is a reflection of the lack of graciousness marring what is otherwise a service that provides great convenience and time savings for Singaporeans.
So, how can we remedy that? By being more mindful of where you’re parking your bicycles after using them. It’s as simple as just looking out for designated parking areas such as the yellow boxes or any bicycle racks within the vicinity.
There’s no denying that with more folks warming to the idea of cycling as a means of commuting – either going the whole journey on their own bicycles or using shared bicycles for their first-mile-last-mile ride – more spaces for bicycle parking are needed.
That’s where the Land Transport Authority’s (LTA) continuing efforts with relevant agencies to improve bicycle parking infrastructure at MRT stations, HDB estates and parks to provide more convenient and accessible parking spaces come in.
To further promote a car-lite culture in Singapore and ramp up bicycle parking spaces, LTA’s next move is to roll out 3,000 new bicycle parking lots at MRT stations to accommodate more bicycles and raise awareness of the visibility of designated parking areas.
They have also created more parking zones – demarcated by bright yellow boxes – for close to 2,000 bicycles at 26 MRT stations such as Punggol, Hougang, Paya Lebar, City Hall, Bukit Panjang, Pioneer and Lakeside. With such accessible bicycle-parking locations, it is now more convenient for residents to cycle from their homes to the nearest MRT station.
Meanwhile, HDB has also jumped on the bandwagon by having more dual racks at the foot of HBD blocks.
So, it’s easier now to park responsibly and conveniently for the next rider at designated parking areas if you’re using a shared bicycle. And if it’s your own personal bicycle, be aware of where and how you park it, so that it doesn’t become a nuisance to your neighbours. It doesn’t hurt to inject a little graciousness when you ride.
With the right combination of civic-mindedness and infrastructure improvement, I believe it’s possible to pedal towards building a positive and responsible cycling community.