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New Year Resolution for 2008: Swim faster, Run longer, maybe return to cycling.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Comment from Government Official Baffles All Laymen

I am the technical advisor for transport and traffic-related issues for the Safecycling taskforce and I recently attended a town council meeting at a local constituency. Present in the meeting were representatives from each residential precinct as well as the Member of Parliament for the constituency. Also present were representatives from government agencies like the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), the Traffic Police (TP), and the Land Transport Authority (LTA).

Briefly, the agenda of the meeting was to discuss about the possible conversion of existing pedestrian sidewalks into shared pathways for pedestrians and cyclists. This could be done either by physical planning or policy change. It is worth noting that some existing sidewalks are reinforced concrete box culverts. Basically, beneath these sidewalks are drains.

In any case, when it came to the LTA 'expert' to comment, she said "I'm afraid that the (concrete) pavement cannot support the extra weight of cyclists on it."

Everyone was stunned by the comment.

Several things can be deduced from her seemingly 'kiasu' comment:

1. She is not trained as a civil engineer - no, wait! - she doesn't have common sense.
2. She has absolutely no idea of the incremental weight of a typical bicycle (clue: add at most 20kg to the weight of a human of 70kg).
4. LTA has conditioned her to think that everything beneath the surface is unstable ala Nicoll Highway incident. Therefore, any decisions that involve the downward gravitational force on surfaces requires higher echelon approval. Otherwise, make sure there's a scapegoat to blame.

So is it really true that pavements are unsafe for users to cycle on because they are not designed with the proper load (and safety) factors?

BTW, it is now a standing joke in the eastern side of Singapore.

1 comment:

nic said...

oh no.....