How brightly lit are you?

As a cycling enthusiast and advocate, I write with disbelief as to why and how reckless drivers can be so careless that they can knocked into cyclists while driving on the road.

Lives are lost due to the negligence of drivers. Not long ago, PK Yeoh was killed on the spot when a car crashed into him in the emergency lane of MEX Highway (now known as Maju Expressway). The latest victim is Rafizi Hamdan. From the CCTV recording, it could be seen that Rafizi was hit from behind by a speeding car. He died on the spot from serious head and body injuries. Both the victims were road cyclist and these two tragic accidents happened in the morning at around 7am to 8am on highways.

Leon riding on the road

The cycling community were shocked to learn of such accidents. The family and friends are greatly saddened by the death of their beloved ones. Our thoughts and prayers go to the family of both. This is simply a rude awakening! Many people especially the cycling community have begun to voice their anger at car drivers for their careless attitude towards cyclists on the road. Fair enough, whenever a driver knocks someone down, the fault automatically points to the driver.

My point is, could these accidents been avoided or could the severity of the accidents been minimized if there were bright blinking taillights installed at the rear of the bicycles? The police must investigate thoroughly and find out the cause of these two accidents. Was it purely human error and negligence? Was it because the weather on that morning was foggy? Was it because the driver could not see the cyclist at all? If motorcyclists can be knocked down by car drivers, what more cyclists, in which by measurement, cyclists are smaller objects than motorcyclists. Mind you motorcyclist are required to switch on their headlights and taillights at all time.

This brings to my point of discussion.
How different are cyclists, as compared to motorcyclists? If the latter is required to switch on headlights and taillights at all time by law, I believe the former should put this safety measure into practice as well. Cyclists are no different from motorcyclist. The risks faced by cyclists and motorcyclists are very much the same. Cyclists have more reasons to switch on taillights because they are more vulnerable to being hit by motor vehicles.

Generally, both roadies (road bikers) and dirties (mountain bikers) installed taillights when cycling on road and off road at night. Very rarely you will see roadies with taillights when they cycle on road, especially on highway during day time. This said, having taillights may not guarantee 100% safety, but at least the possibility of being knocked down is reduced. Perhaps roadies should also consider wearing jerseys with reflective strips. Visibility is the keyword here.

Bravo to our cycling community for sharing ideas on how to make our roads safer for cyclists. I see cyclists coming together as one in support of campaigns such as ʻShare Our Roads.ʼ Someone even suggested that signboards be installed at popular cycling highways. I urge the relevant authorities to take heed of our plea and introduce more cyclists-friendly safety measures. And to all cyclists who wish to go cycling on roads and highways during day time, is it not sensible to switch on your taillights? Your action could help safe your life.

By LEON CHAN
Puchong



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  • http://www.facebook.com/klchan64 Edward Chan

    A good article which is really common sense.At times most of us are so overwhelmed by the “weight” thingy that we tend to omit being brightly lit. Do get a safety light which can be seen from afar and not buy any light for the sake of saying I am lighted .Your life depended on it.

  • Tankinsung

    Yes it’s really true that roadies thought they can be notice in the morning by other motorist without lights but the fact is that motorist really can’t notice them. 
    Be smart and be safe cycling on the road. People inside a metal box can get kill, why do you think you stand a chance when all you got is plastic “carbon” underneath you butt…

  • brightlight

    I’m a cyclist and a driver, so visibilty is the key message.  Tail lights form only part of the safety solution.  So many cyclist (not just in HK) forget (or don’t bother) with a front light – that’s just stupid, especially at times of low visibility, i.e. dusk, night, fog, etc. 

    Imagine you have your tail light, but no front light.  So, a vehicle can see your tail light ahead, but what happens when the vehicle passes you? Assuming a driver even uses their mirrors properly, it’s difficult for a driver to see a cyclist coming from behind, so a bright/flashing front light makes you more visible.  Whilst driving, I’ve passed so many cyclists without front lights.  I know they’re behind me somewhere, but I can’t see them easily.

    Brighten up. Front and rear lights – day and night, bright/reflective clothing.  Who cares if you look like a christmas tree. The more visible a cyclist is from a distance then their chances of being involved in an accident should be reduced.

    Driver and pedestrian education?  Well that’s another part of the solution.