“The Tampines model was not intended to provide a national solution. The larger problem remains – roads are still dangerous for cyclists.”, Tampines GRC MP Irene Ng
from article dated 25 August 2012: Keeping cyclists safe: Tampines shows the way http://www.straitstimes.com/breaking-news/singapore/story/keeping-cyclists-safe-tampines-shows-the-way-20120825
My heart goes out to the parents the 2 brothers in the fatal accident with a cement truck. The elder brother, 13-year-old Nigel had been on a bicycle with his younger brother, 7-year-old Donavan, riding pillion when they were killed by a cement truck at a crossing in Tampines Street 45 on 28 January 5:40pm. The elder brother was fetching the younger brother home after school CCA.
I guess people live in Singapore know what I am talking about. This is the most popular topic of the week in Singapore. For non-Singaporeans, here is a summary of the accident: http://www.stcars.sg/guides-articles/motoring-news/2-brothers-killed-in-accident-at-tampines-cement-truck-driver-arrested/a/102844
I can’t imagine what the parents are going through. They have to live with despair and sadness everyday. No parents would want to bury their children, more so for two at the same time. No one wants the worst fears realized and no parent wants to suffer the heartache of losing a child.
I chatted with my 2 bigger sons, Robin and Dominique this morning. Robin told me he saw the gruesome photos of the accident circulated online. I heard from a few people the elder boy’s head was crushed beyond recognition. Robin felt nothing wrong with looking at the photos. I told them to stop seeing and don’t circulate the photos out of respect for the two boys and their family members. These few days, I couldn’t sleep well and woke up very early every morning. There is a nagging worry inside me about the things I could do to protect my children when I am not with them.
My house is at MacPherson Garden Estate. The main road outside the quiet estate is MacPherson Road. Since I moved here 12 years ago, the traffic condition here was quite a worrying sight, especially on the stretch of road opposite SPC petrol kiosk. Fortunately, eight years ago, LTA installed a traffic light at the main road, but it solves part of the problem. Heavy vehicle like cement trucks, buses and speeding vehicles beating the red light are common sight. There is no traffic junction or slip road at the left or right side so some motorists who don’t visit this area often may not notice the traffic light if they are not focused. Low pedestrian traffic, jaywalking habit of the residents at this area, long waiting time for the green man at the traffic light, reluctance of residents walking to the traffic light are perfect combination of accident waiting to happen.
Last month, my domestic helper, Rofiah was almost knocked down by a motorcyclist beating the red light. At that time she was on the way to pick up my son, Clement at the childcare centre. What if Clement was walking with her? Rofiah reenacted the scene. I made a correct guess the location of the near-accident where the motorcyclist was at the first lane at the second part of the road she was crossing. It was the same spot of a near-accident I experienced several years ago.
This morning at 8:30am, I walked to MacPherson Road and took a few photos of the problems with the road. I also did a stopwatch time study at the traffic light for pedestrians. With the photos and time-study and an account of observation, I emailed to Land Transport Authority and Traffic Police in the hope of getting the authorities’ attention to look into solutions such as installing speed cameras or building barriers to force residents to use that traffic light. I don’t know whether my feedback will be taken seriously but I intend to send one letter to our Member of Parliament, Dr Fatimah Latiff. In addition, I use my living room’s ceramic floor and toys to simulate road scenarios and explaining the dos and don’ts. Clement was also showed the photos to identify what is wrong with the road users (the same pictures in this post). Not matter it’s workable or not, it is better than not doing anything.
Regardless of the cause of accident and how law is going to deal with errant driver, accident will never be eliminated totally. We also don’t expect everyone to be responsible road users overnight. It is a social responsibility and our personal responsibility to take care of our own safety and for our loved ones. As a prelude to my next post, one of the most basic and important parts of being a parent is to set a good example. “Monkey see, monkey do” – Your child is going to repeat what he sees you doing and how he sees you living your life.
I still keep the Shimano racer bike that I had since my teens. My sons thought the bicycle was their father’s because they never see me ride it…. I shared with them a scary experience that stopped me from cycling on the road. My husband and I feel that life is precious, and if any one of us wants to have leisure cycling, we can do in the park. We discourage bicycle as a mode of transport.
After seeing people suffer from the pain of losing love ones, I feel that no one should go through what the Tampines victims and parents did. Don’t leave to a game of chance. It’s no use crying over spilled milk.