Specialist Dental Group has launched an on-going series of blog posts by our individual dental specialists. All views provided are the dentist’s own opinions and are posted on this blog as part of our on-going efforts to educate the public about dental issues and other matters of interest relating to dentistry and healthcare.
We have now been in Singapore coming up to two years this month and one thing I wanted to maintain was my enthusiasm for cycling. I was always a cycling fan for as long as I remember and always looked forwards to the Tour de France in July. I had the great pleasure of watching it start in London in 2007 and then see some of the same cyclists at the Olympics in 2012.
I am both a driver and cyclist so I can appreciate sharing road space from both viewpoints. London is a busy capital city, but with dedicated cycle lanes and a healthy respect for other road users, somehow cycling did not feel too unsafe. The large and increasing numbers of cyclists, mild weather and a cycling Mayor all helped contribute to a feeling that cycling was a viable alternative transport.
Unfortunately, I think Singapore lags behind many European cities in adopting a cycling culture. Perhaps it’s too hot to cycle to work or the cost benefit is too small. A single journey of even one tube stop in London can be as high as $9! Failing to signal when changing lanes seems optional and using a handphone whilst driving still seems acceptable, although I understand both of these will attract a fine if caught. I think overall there is a lack of respect for road users other than cars/ vans or trucks – kiasu perhaps?
I am also fully aware that some cyclists behave badly on the road and are guilty of the same things – not signalling, using a handphone and worst of all, jumping red lights. London has traffic police on mountain bikes and I witnessed an incident when a rather overweight policeman chased a cyclist who had jumped a red light, but was unable to catch him, resorting to blowing his whistle in vain.
If you use the road, you should follow the rules of the road regardless of the vehicle you are in. The best advice I can give is when cycling you should behave as if you are in a car. In other words, keep in lane and don’t be pushed into the gutter. This way, cars have to go around you, rather than squeezing past. Signal clearly and always look behind. Don’t squeeze in between lines of cars going slowly and worst of all, don’t edge up the left side of a bus as this is the classic blind spot and results in the most accidents.
One of the last cases I helped with in London was a cyclist who had a road traffic accident and lost his four lower front teeth. He was treated with a bone graft and implants, however, none of this deterred him and he was back on his bike.
With COEs being so expensive prompting interest in alternative forms of transport, whether self-powered or electrically assisted, I can see change ahead and judging by the number of cycling events here, Singapore has an enthusiastic growing contingent of cycling fans. We must all learn to respect each other when out on the road, for all our safety’s sake.
Dr. Steven Soo is a Prosthodontist at Specialist Dental Group. He was formerly a Clinical Lecturer at the Eastman Dental Institute and Clinical Teacher at the GKT Dental Institute, both of which are affiliated with the University of London. Dr Soo has a special interest in prosthetic and implant restorative dentistry.