Singapore: Heaven for Cyclists

16th Dec 2015 | NEWS

In one of the blog in a Travel Page of a US-based Internet News site, the blogger stated his experience during his stay in Singapore when he saw a signage stating the Crime Rate, particularly bicycle theft in a particular area that became his wake up call, warning him that there ain’t no Utopia.

He stated that since he moved to Singapore, he had been unconsciously seduced by its rock-bottom crime rate and apparent nonexistence of the scourge that we call theft. He also noticed that everyone doesn’t think twice of leaving their belongings on a table on a coffee shop, going to the counter buying coffee, waiting for it and returning to the table with their things untouched. Also, as per his experience going to a supermarket, he always leave his bike outside, unlocked, exploring inside the store for a few minutes before paying and leaving and return to its bike also untouched.

As he read that signage, Seven bicycle thefts in a year, that will be one bike stolen from outside that particular substation every 52 days comparing his experience in New York City where in seven bikes would disappear in a heartbeat.

He also stated that Singapore is not a pleasurable place to to ride a bike on the streets because each time he rides his bike someone tries to run him over for no other reason than he is on the road. He also stated that one driver, after almost hitting him, berated him for not cycling on the sidewalk instead taking up precious road space, saying ” Why would I kill you with my little car? I think you would be much happier if a BMW or Mercedes killed you, then you could go to heaven happy.” And the Big Apple has policies geared toward boosting the number of bikers on the roads, so when you dig a little deeper, the theft numbers aren’t as disparate as they first appear. After factoring in the populations of Singapore and New York — 5.3 million and 8.2 million respectively — and reworking the figures, the monthly bike theft rate per million people in Singapore is 23.6, and in New York it’s 29.5. That’s by no means a huge gulf.

He also stated that he do asked some people to know how the Singaporean cyclist interpreted the number. And when he asked an old Chinese man after buying some groceries from a supermarket, the old man said, “No la, number not high. They just put sign there to make people worry, so they will lock bike and be more careful. Police want people to put sticker on bike for safety so can trace.”

With the conversation he had with the old Chinese and asking him where to get the sticker, he quickly go to the Neighborhood Police Post (NPP) to get some. He was also shocked when an officer turned to him after seeing him with his bike.

Here’s an excerpt from their conversation;

Officer: Bicycle security label?
Blogger: Yes
Officer: (Giving a sticker after getting the blogger’s name and address) Put that on your bike and if it’s stolen we can trace it.
Blogger: But what happens if someone peels the sticker off?
Officer: Don’t worry, we can trace it.
Blogger: How?
Officer: We have ways, we can’t tell you how
Blogger: How do you find a stolen bike? If mine is taken, you can’t have every officer checking every bike out there to see if it has a sticker on it whose number matches the one in my record?
Officer: We have a number of procedures. We routinely visit all the second-hand bicycle shops to see if they have the bicycle or if they have sold it. We also will put out a description of your bicycle, so if a street officer sees a similar bike being ridden on the street, he can stop the rider and check the bike. Basically, like any theft, there’s an element of luck. But the sticker is definitely a deterrent.

Stating that even that the system isn’t foolproof, the rate of the bicycle theft in Singapore isn’t markedly lower than in NYC, and without a GPS-enabled anti-theft device in his bike, He still somehow feel that his bike is so much safer in Singapore than in New York.

“But, Oh how I miss Bike Lanes” he added.



Blogger: Sanjay Surana