Friday, October 19, 2012

Mountain Bike Association of Singapore responds to resident's complaint of noise at BT

Update - follow up response added and letters arranged chronologically.

"Inconsiderate mountain bikers at nature reserve".
Letter to The Straits Times, 06 Oct 2012

"I LIVE near the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and I have noticed that mountain bikers tend to shout and urge each other up the biking trails. Increasingly, they also venture up the trails with bright fluorescent headlamps late at night in groups of five to eight at a time.

As many of the species that live in the reserve are nocturnal, this is disruptive to the lives of these species.

It is not merely the job of the National Parks Board to regulate and take punitive measures against this kind of behaviour.

The cycling community should recognise that noise pollution, tramping through the trails in large numbers and cycling at night after the reserve is closed are acts disrespectful to the natural environment.

Cyclists should respect the flora and fauna that is a part of the larger aesthetic and physical experience when cycling at our nature reserves."

Vinita Ramani Mohan (Ms)

"Mountain bikers group on need for night cycling"
Letter to The Straits Times, 15 Oct 15, 2012.

"DESIGNATED mountain biking trails such as the conveniently located and highly accessible Bukit Timah mountain biking trail located near Ms Vinita Ramani Mohan's residence ("Inconsiderate mountain bikers at nature reserve"; Oct 6) see especially heavy usage, as the availability of designated biking trails has not caught up with the sheer number of mountain bikers.

To ease the shortage, as well as the congestion on some of these trails during the weekends, many mountain bikers have taken to riding on weekday nights with LED bike lights and headlamps.

Night riding also allows mountain bikers to experience the same trail in a different setting, effectively doubling the utility of the trail in land-scarce Singapore.

With an urbanised, increasing population, limited forested areas, and land use competition from other recreational activities as well as residential use, we have a situation in which Ms Mohan's residence is located right on the fringe of a major nature reserve, where many nature lovers, including mountain bikers, seek solace.

From our understanding, the Bukit Timah mountain biking trail is situated on the periphery of the nature reserve proper, hence we believe any negative impact is mitigated.

We seek the kind understanding of Ms Mohan and other residents near the biking trail when mountain bikers get too carried away with cheering, flushed with adrenaline from the exhilaration of clearing a highly technical climb.

As the working committee of the Mountain Bike Association (Singapore), we also urge mountain bikers using the Bukit Timah trail to be considerate to residents living nearby, and to observe proper trail etiquette, including not littering, avoiding unnecessary shouting, and cycling only in the designated mountain biking trail."

Calvin Chin
Working Committee
Mountain Bike Association (Singapore)

"Mountain bikers' expectations in public spaces are unreasonable."

Letter to the Straits Times Forum page, 24 Oct 2012.

"THE reply by the Mountain Bike Association (Singapore) ("Mountain bikers group on need for night cycling"; Oct 15) to Ms Vinita Ramani Mohan's complaint about inconsiderate mountain bikers ("Inconsiderate mountain bikers at nature reserve"; Oct 6) proffered neither an apology for the noise disturbances, nor remorse for possibly endangering the wildlife and vegetation during their night rides in a protected nature reserve.

Instead, the association essentially wanted distressed residents such as Ms Mohan to grin and bear with the noise.

This response belongs to a worrying trend of "me-only" individuals and interest groups who insist on asserting their perceived rights, but are oblivious to the rights of others.

Examples of inconsiderate conduct abound, many of which are already highlighted in the press:

  • Drivers of illegally modified vehicles and supercars and motorcyclists who jolt the neighbourhood awake with their loud revving;
  • Cyclists who expect motorists to give them a wide berth on the road but are themselves blind to pedestrians;
  • Litterbugs who think it is someone else's responsibility to clean up after their uncivil habit; and
  • Commuters who blast music from their latest electronic gadgets, never mind that fellow passengers have a right to a peaceful bus or train ride.

I accept that tolerance of minor annoyances is part and parcel of urban life.

However, it is vital that we exercise restraint and social consideration as well.

One man's buzz might well be another's migraine.

Perhaps when Singapore matures as a nation, a greater sense of community will help in raising the levels of social graces and civic-mindedness.

Until then, citizens can only rely on the law, and hope for the rules to be enforced vigorously."

Francis Quek