Wednesday, December 15, 2010

1.5m Matters...

1.5m worth of berth matters. But no driver will ever give you 1.5m if it inconveniences them.

How realistic is it? Not realistic at all. At least, that's the way I see it, based on experience. Especially on crowded streets, 1.5 metres worth of space between the vehicle and your bicycle is very difficult to achieve. Mainly because, unlike what the newspaper shows, the vehicles that pass you that have difficulties giving you such a big berth are large vehicles, which happen to be on the left most lane, just like any cyclist would be.

On crowded streets, the problem is that few would want to slow themselves down to wait behind a bicycle, so they would take the risk and provide a small berth. Just try riding on Lornie Road at rush hour, with its bends, the high speed limit and small left lane, drivers find it very difficult to give such a big berth without intruding onto other's lanes. Buses and trucks even worse.

Yet, a safe berth can be given very easily on less crowded streets. I noticed that, if the next lane is empty, drivers often will take the liberty to switch lanes or if they have a need to stay in the left lane, they will jiak a bit of the adjacent lane and try to overtake you, giving you a lot of necessary space.

But there is one kind of street that I find is the most optimal method for drivers and cyclists to coexist. I was riding alone some road in Ang Mo Kio heading towards Peirce Reservoir, and there I was on the left lane. But this left lane isn't like the normal lanes that can merely take one bus and has no extra space. It happens that, this left lane is so large, you can fit a bicycle and a large lorry, and still leave a safe berth.


  1. I always try to keep 1/2 lane distance away from the cyclist when overtaking. If the road don't permit, then I'll overtake very slowly.

  2. That's really commendable. It would be great if everyone could bear with cyclists like you do.

  3. I think the rule implies that if 1.5m is not achievable, then one should not overtake. However, I do agree that it means almost not possible to over take during busy hours on narrow left lanes such as those along Lornie road. However, in the case of Lornie road, I would cycle on pavements, especially now that the kerbs are gone/smoothed.

  4. Lornie rd! I ride that road going to school!

    Here's what i usually do.
    1. Take the lane. ( Occupy about 1/3-1/2 of the lane. Vehicles have no choice but to make a lane change to overtake you. Problem with this is some drivers get impatient, and start tailgating you and sometimes sounding their horn. )
    2. Take the back road! Its quite hidden, inside the cemetry itself there is a very nice quiet road inside that I take often when I'm not in a rush. First timers might get lost!
    Riding there at night is not recommened, IMHO

  5. Unless I can easily ride at the speed of the traffic, otherwise, I won't take the lane. I prefer doing the less risky way over doing the legally correct way.

    By back road, do you mean Kheam Hock road? But I thought by the time you reach there the lane isn't that narrow. The purpose would be to avoid the PIE entrance/exit, but during peak hours, I don't find it difficult to do so, especially with the down slope there.

    I also feel that it is more dangerous to ride on small, very quiet back roads at night. Last time I used to illegally rode along PIE from Whitley to TPY and trying not to be that illegal I tried the Mt Pleasant Road and find it very dangerous.

  6. Your right about having to ride rather quickly when taking the lane!

    Yes and no, Kheam Hock rd to avoid the PIE exit and entrance.
    Not Kheam Hock Rd, but use Kheam Hock rd to enter the cemetry. The road inbetween Sime rd and Lorong Halwa. You will end up at Jalan Mashor, avoiding the dreaded Lornie rd altogether!

  7. True! 1.5m does NOT work at all...when i was biking coming from NEX/Serangoon Mrt thru Yio chu kang, I've encounter 7-12 near miss(I commute mostly 3times a week) when the road was almost empty and there was another empty lane for the driver and the road was wide enough for the driver to use another lane...i was shocked and my rear safety light was on during day time...even at night.

    I just want to share my story.