TL;DR – It’s about being reasonable.
You’ve probably heard of the lorry driver vs cyclist incident by now. If, for whatever reason, you haven’t, here’s the video that has been making its rounds on social media:
Yes, I’m aware there’s a second video that came put after this, and the cyclist displayed aggression towards the lorry driver.
I must state categorically that I do not think that the cyclist deserved to be knocked off his bike like that. And I definitely do not wish that the cyclist gets run over.
Having said that, I do think that the cyclist should be punished to the full extent of the law for what he did. There is no excuse for his behaviour. He was acting like a self-entiteld brat. Seeing the way he behaved, one must wonder what sort of upbringing he had. Did his parents never teach him to have some self-restraint? Did his parents never teach him to share, to give way, to not inconvenience other people? If I were his parents, I would be totally ashamed of him.
The whole incident and its subsequent fallout holds a three lessons for us.
1. Even if you are allowed to do something, it might not be right to do it
According to LTA’s Rule and Code of Conduct under the Active Mobility Act, unless you are cycling on a single-lane road or during bus-lane operational hours, you are allowed to cycle two abreast. So the cyclist was allowed to cycle on the right of his friend.
But that doesn’t mean that he was right to do so. He was clearly holding up traffic. What would it have cost him to cycle just ahead or just behind his friend in a single file so that other vehicles can pass him? Next to nothing. But because he felt entitled to this “right”, he thought it was perfectly alright to inconvenience all the vehicles behind him. How can that be right? It’s not. It’s inconsiderate behaviour. And if the cyclist was just that bit more considerate, he could have avoided this ugly incident altogether.
Hopefully, this incident reminds us to be considerate of other people and not to be so self-entitled.
2. Online vigilantism is dangerous
Many people were outraged by the cyclist’s inconsiderate behaviour and his act of damaging the lorry. Some were so outraged that they set out to identify the cyclist. They eventually “identified” the cyclist as a certain individual. And some people went on to harass that individual, going as far as sending that individual personal messages with unjust messages and even death threats.
But it turns out that the individual that was “identified” wasn’t the cyclist.
The individual that online vigilantes “identified” was apparently in a motorbike accident where he broke two ribs, and hasn’t cycled since:
Hopefully, we learn from this incident not to be an online vigilante and also not to take the matters into our own hands. Otherwise, we might end up accusing the wrong person and fall foul of the law ourselves.
3. Let’s not overreact to things we see on social media
The “news” we read or see on social media often doesn’t capture the incident in its entirety. Even if it’s a video, there might be things that are not captured. For instance, most people, myself included, thought the lorry driver deliberately hit the cyclist as a reaction to what the cyclist did.
But apparently that’s not the case. Lianhe Wanbao found the lorry driver and interviewed him. According to the lorry driver, he was inching into the right lane so that he could overtake the cyclist. As he did that, the taxi in the lane he was inching into started sounded its horn. That’s when the lorry driver heard a bang. He thought he had hit the taxi. That’s why he swerved and hit the cyclist.
Sure. It could be that the lorry driver wasn’t telling the truth in his interview with Wanbao. But who are we to judge? The matter is now under police investigation. Both men have been arrested. Let the law run its course, let the judge (if the matter goes to trial) decide what is the truth based evidence collected.
Let this be a lesson to all of us
Hopefully, we all can learn from this incident. The roads are meant to be shared by many different users.
Let’s be more considerate to other road users so that we can all have a pleasant experience on the roads. Otherwise, you may end up being on the next viral video. Or worse, you might end up being seriously injured or causing someone else to be seriously injured. If we can avoid that, surely we should. Right?