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Netizens question cyclists’ choice of riding in the middle lane as police probe Middle Road altercation

Following a police investigation of a cyclist-taxi driver dispute near Middle Road on Saturday (21 Oct), online responses indicated disapproval of the cyclists’ riding in the middle lane.

Some critics highlighted alleged tailgating, and urged LTA to closely monitor cyclists who fail to comply with traffic rules, thus endangering themselves and others.

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On Saturday (21 Oct), an altercation between a group of cyclists and a ComfortDelGro taxi driver took place near Middle Road. The cyclists accused the driver of sudden braking, while the taxi driver claimed his side mirror was hit.

The police have confirmed that they are currently investigating the incident, which occurred at around 8:25 a.m. The incident was captured and uploaded on the Facebook group SG Road Vigilante.

The footage consists of in-car camera segments, depicting the events leading up to the dispute, as well as the quarrel between the cyclists and the taxi driver.

Before the altercation with the taxi driver, snippets from other in-car camera recordings depicted the cyclists occupying the middle lane of a three-lane road, with a Hyundai car in front, supposedly before the “taxi incident.”

When the cyclists and the car stopped at a traffic light, one of the cyclists could be observed gesturing at the car.

The video caption mentioned that the cyclist “confronted” the car driver because of a “honking” incident.

In the video, the group of approximately five cyclists can be seen biking in the leftmost and middle lane of the three-lane road, trailing a taxi.

The taxi came to a stop, leaving about a car’s length of space between itself and the car in front, which had also halted for a red light.

A cyclist behind the taxi seemed to have either hit or almost hit the taxi’s rear, causing the cyclist to stumble.

Subsequently, the group of cyclists surrounded the taxi, leading to a verbal altercation. The cyclists argued with the taxi driver, questioning why he suddenly braked.

The taxi driver responded with Hokkien vulgarities, claiming that the cyclist had “struck his side mirror.”  He retrieved his phone from the driver’s seat, strode towards the front and to the left side of his vehicle.

A cyclist, who had positioned himself near the vehicle’s front, tumbled to the ground along with his bicycle. Meanwhile, the taxi driver was observed recording his left-side mirror.

Cyclists must ride as closely as possible to the far left edge of roads

As per the Active Mobility Act, all cyclists and power-assisted bicycle (PAB) riders have been advised to comply with specific rules while riding on roads.

This includes riding as close as practicable to the far left edge of roads and allowing traffic to overtake safely, as specifically outlined in the Road Traffic Act.

Cyclists are also requested to ride in a single file on single-lane roads and during bus lane operational hours.

On January 1, 2022, a rule was implemented requiring road cyclists to limit their groups to a maximum of 5 bicycles when riding in groups. This means a maximum of 5 cyclists when riding in a single file, or 10 cyclists when riding two abreast.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) also advises maintaining a minimum distance of 30 meters or 2 lamp posts between cycling groups when riding in groups. Overtaking other groups should only be attempted when it is safe to do so.

Netizens allege that the cyclist group has already violated the law

After examining comments from SG Road Vigilante and the local news site Mothership’s Facebook post, it became apparent that netizens were questioning the actions of the cyclist group.

For instance, One SG Road Vigilante group member emphasized the bustling nature of Middle Road, suggesting that cyclists should opt for less congested routes for the safety of both themselves and other road users.

The comment urged empathy for the taxi driver’s livelihood, considering the already stressful environment we find ourselves in.

Alleged tailgating

Meanwhile, certain netizens have drawn different perceptions, with some emphasizing that the taxi driver mentioned his side mirror being hit.

It is possible that the taxi driver stopped his vehicle to assess the situation after hearing the sound, potentially out of shock and fear of colliding with the riders.

Some also pointed out that the cyclists allegedly were tailgating the taxi. As road users, they are expected to be vigilant of the vehicle in front and react appropriately when necessary. Blaming the leading vehicle for sudden stops or abrupt braking is not reasonable.

Safe distance for emergency brake

A comment argued that emergency braking is not an offence because even if one has the right of way, one should remain attentive while driving. In the event of a sudden stop by the vehicle ahead, it is the responsibility of the following vehicle to react accordingly.

The comment highlighted that according to traffic regulations if the rear vehicle collides with the front one, the fault lies with the rear vehicle.

According to the Singapore Highway Code, Following Distance Section 67, to be able to adjust the speed so that one can stop within the space between you and the vehicle in front, the road user must allow at least one car length for every 16 km/h of your speed.

Online support tilts towards taxi driver, criticizing cyclists’ road positioning

Notably, a significant number of comments have voiced support for the taxi driver, disagreeing with the cyclist group’s choice to ride in the middle of the road.

Fion Phua, the founder of the charity group Keeping Hope Alive, suggested that rules should be enforced for cyclists as they are posing a risk to other road users.

Calls for enhanced enforcement against violating cyclists

Meanwhile, some have urged the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to closely monitor cyclists who fail to comply with traffic rules, thus endangering themselves and others.

A netizen suggested that the LTA should deploy enforcement officers along various roads to take action against cyclists who do not adhere to the rules.

The comment highlights that large cycling groups (exceeding 5 in number) are still observed, particularly on Saturdays and Sundays.

Proposal for mandatory tests for cyclists prior to road usage

Another comment emphasized the importance of cyclists obeying traffic rules, stating that if the cyclist did indeed collide with the back of the taxi, there would be no need for argument.

The comment then suggested that the LTA should consider implementing mandatory final theory tests for cyclists without a driver’s license before granting them the right to use open roads.

“Compulsory third party insurance if using open roads even for cyclists… probably will stop all these from happening.”

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Problem after Problem

Implement road tax , erp for bicycle

Gst stick to 5%

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