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Aljunied Overhead Bridge Safety Crisis: Elderly Residents Fear Collisions as Cyclists Violate Rules, Prompts Calls for CCTV Surveillance

The overhead bridge, designed for the convenience of HDB flat residents connecting Aljunied Crescent and Pipit Road, has become a source of anxiety for several elderly residents. Their complaints echo a sentiment of a “heart-stopping experience”.

Some have narrowly avoided collisions with bicycles, while others have been rudely honked at to make way.

Despite clear signs instructing cyclists to dismount their bicycles or personal mobility devices (PMD) before entering the bridge, there’s a notable number who blatantly disregard these warnings.

More egregiously, some cyclists treat the bridge slopes as makeshift slides, careening down with children in tow.

A Necessary Route to Access Amenities

Image: Google Maps

Spanning the bustling Pan-Island Expressway, the bridge serves as a crucial pathway for residents to access supermarkets, eateries, and various amenities.

Pipit Road is also home to the Moral Seniors Activity Centre, highlighting the bridge’s importance for elders living across the expressway.

Without this direct route, residents would be forced to take a lengthy bus detour, extending their travel time to a more burdensome 30 minutes.

Though constructed to prioritize pedestrians travelling on foot, cyclists remain brazen and insist on remaining embarked on their vehicles while travelling through an already-narrow path, resulting in frequent near-collisions.

Residents have pointed out that this phenomenon existed before the pandemic, but it became more serious with the prevalence of food delivery and the widespread use of electric bicycles.

Elderly residents, already at a disadvantage due to their slower pace, find it increasingly challenging to react swiftly to cyclists zooming past at high speeds.

When asked, a 65-year-old retiree who uses a bicycle for transportation stated that despite his older age, he still adheres to the rules by pushing his bicycle onto the bridge for the safety of other pedestrians.

He also mentioned that he had asked a food delivery rider why they knowingly engaged in this illegal act. The response was a dismissive, “Everyone makes mistakes, not just me!”

A 1-Hour Observation Shows the Grim Reality

To shed light on the situation, reporters from Lianhe Zaobao conducted a one-hour observation on the bridge.

Sadly, despite the presence of eight noticeable signs prohibiting riding and reminders from the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to dismount and push bicycles or personal mobility devices at both ends, approximately 30 riders persisted in disregarding these warnings.

In response to these persistent issues, Member of Parliament for Macpherson SMC, Tin Pei Ling, has advocated for the installation of closed-circuit television (CCTV) to deter rule-breaking riders.

This is not anything new, as the Land Transport Authority (LTA) has been installing CCTVs at hotspots where reckless cyclists and PMD riders run rampant since 2019.

Ms Tin mentioned that the respective authorities are still considering the proposal.

Ms Tin, alongside grassroot organizations, have sought assistance from the LTA and the Traffic Police multiple times, passionate about establishing a safer and more graceful road-sharing culture in her district.

In 2018, Ms Tin had successfully vouched for the installation of lifts for said overhead bridge, helping elderly residents to have “a more active and less barrier living in MacPherson”.

Furthermore, an LTA spokesperson stated that they have received reports of cyclists riding on the bridge in violation of regulations and have taken enforcement actions against offenders.

(And trust me when I say the LTA are, as what the older generation calls it, ‘no horse run’ at their job. Just take a look at their impressive joint enforcement operation with the Traffic Police in 2021!)

In addition to installing signs indicating “No Riding” and reminders to dismount, LTA officers also regularly conduct operations in the area to apprehend rule-breaking cyclists.

The authorities will continue to carry out enforcement actions and work closely with community leaders to better ensure the safety of road users.

The public can also play a part in improving pedestrian safety and weed out rule-breaking cyclists through the MyTransport.SG mobile application.

As the Aljunied community grapples with safety concerns on the overhead bridge, it remains to be seen how effective these measures will be in curbing the dangerous behavior of cyclists and ensuring the well-being of pedestrians.

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