Medical personnel, traffic marshals and safety cars are not going to be the only measures in place in this year’s OCBC Cycle Singapore to ensure the safety of the participants. 20 skilled and experienced riders will be deployed at the Singapore’s biggest mass cycling event as safe-cycling ambassadors to identify errant cyclists and warn them against cycling in a manner that might endanger the lives of others.
The deployment of the 20 safe-cycling ambassadors is one of the new safety measures that would be put in place at the event, following the death of full-time national servicemen Chia Wee Kiat, who crashed and sustained serious head injuries in last year’s 59km Super Challenge event. He was 24 at that time and his death had generated discussions on how safety could be improved to prevent any fatality at the event.
Apart from using safe-cycling ambassadors to spread the message of safe-cycling, other new safety measures that would be put in place by the OCBC Bank, the organiser of OCBC Cycle Singapore, include deploying heavier and taller traffic cones, limiting the number of participants at 9,000 and sending videos on safe cycling and route-familiarisation to the participants before the event. The same video on safe cycling would also be played at the event before flagging off. The OCBC Bank is also considering the option of deploying more traffic marshals and medical personnel on bicycles or motorcycles. The new safety measures are estimated at a cost of $300,000.
OCBC Cycle Singapore is sponsored by the OCBC Bank at a cost of more than $1.5 million. Besides the $300,000 that would be utilised for implementing safety measures, the remaining $1.2 million would be channelled towards set-up costs, venue rental, manpower costs and stakeholders’ engagement. To this day, more than 4,000 people have signed up for the event. However, the route has yet to be finalised.
President of the Safe Cycling Task Force, Mr Steven Lim, supported the use of safe-cycling ambassadors. However, he remains sceptical that playing the video on safe-cycling before flagging off would be useful.
Safe-cycling coach, Mr Tony Tan, suggested more training for the traffic marshals. He also proposed the use of whistles to better control the crowd and traffic. He added, “There will definitely be some ‘bad apples’ who will take this cycle as if they were in a race. The onus is on the participants to practise defensive cycling. Ride with eyes and ears open, and ride within your capability.”