Sunday 7 March 2010

If cycling on footpaths is legal only in Tampines, then ... anarchy!

I never realised I was living in such a lawless town.

Sure, I was used to witnessing the casual acts of crime that occur regularly in broad daylight around my neighbourhood.

Like housewives brazenly pushing their groceries in stolen NTUC FairPrice supermarket trolleys home before abandoning them wherever it was convenient.

Uniformed secondary school students boldly smoking cigarettes that they are clearly not legally old enough to buy.

Pet owners blithely not picking after their dogs when the animals defecate on the exact spot your brand new Hush Puppies will land on.

The insouciant littering. The rampant jaywalking. The visible panty lines.

Then last week, Tampines officially became Singapore’s first “cycling town”. For the first time, cyclists are allowed on the footpaths.

This means two things. First, it was previously an offence to cycle on footpaths. Second, if you’re not in Tampines, it still is.

I do not live in Tampines, yet I see cyclists on the footpaths every day in my neighbourhood – including a few wearing Singapore Post uniforms and carrying the mail!

So in addition to trolley thieves, underage smokers and negligent dog lovers, the town where I’m trying to raise my children to be law-abiding citizens with a good fashion sense has also been letting these two-wheeled scofflaws roam freely on the pavements in open defiance of our country’s legal strictures without censure or punishment all this time?

Could anarchy be far behind? We might as well replace our court system with the Thunderdome.

Yes, I understand why cyclists prefer footpaths to roads – you would rather bully pedestrians than be bullied by other vehicles. But does that justify breaking the law?

As if to add insult to indignation, it was also reported last week that the Tampines town council hired auxiliary police to ensure that the cyclists observe safety rules and not be a danger to pedestrians.

Whereas in my town where cycling on footpaths remains unlawful, I’m still playing chicken with cyclists on the sidewalk during my weekly stroll to my eyebrow-plucking session without the protection of any law enforcement.

I’m tired of living on the edge.

You know what? I should just move to Tampines.

Even if it’s nearer to my mother-in-law.

- Published in The New Paper, 7 March 2010