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It is Not About Limiting Belief, But Undestanding Oneself

· ComeRideWithFirman

Sometimes, it takes a single incident to remind oneself of the underlying motivation. As I lay in my bed, grappling with pain, I pondered the necessity of adhering to laws that may appear outdated in the long run.

During my teenage years, I was introduced to the notion of a standardised curriculum for operating a car. At that tender age, I was keenly aware of my inability to multitask under pressure. The intricacies of gear shifting with a clutch and the concept of "feeling" the biting point seemed entirely alien. This realisation was further reinforced during my time in National Service when I was enrolled in Transport School to train as a Transport Supervisor. It turned out to be a gruelling and demeaning three to four months of my life. Despite numerous attempts, I could not master the art of manual driving. I came to terms with the fact that some individuals are not suited for it.

In 2005, Singapore introduced Class 3A, which encompassed automatic driving. This meant that drivers no longer needed to grapple with the complexities of clutches, gear changes, and the nuances of "feeling" the biting point. At this juncture, I began to regain my belief that I could become a driver. Three years later, I proudly obtained my Class 3A driver's license. To achieve this, I had to take private lessons, which, at the time, were hard to come by, and they came at a steep price of around SGD$45 per hour. Given my modest monthly salary of about SGD$ 2,000.00, coupled with student loans to repay, I made every effort to absorb as much knowledge as possible. With automatic driving, I could focus more intently on the road, prioritising safety for myself and others.

In Singapore, riding a motorcycle is often the most convenient and cost-efficient means of travel. Considering the exorbitant costs associated with car ownership in Singapore, one would need to part with a kidney to afford one. The cost-benefit analysis doesn't add up. I've witnessed numerous tragedies involving friends and even my brother in motorcycle accidents. This accumulating fear persists, especially considering that all motorcycle classes in Singapore (Class 2, 2A, and 2B) are taught in manual mode, encompassing clutch control, throttle management, and other intricate details.

Over the past 15 years, Singapore's number of automatic cars has steadily risen. With the advent of electronic vehicles (also automated), one may question the rationale behind learning Class 3 (manual driving) unless you want to participate in The Amazing Race, where manual driving skills come in handy. While the nation embraces technology, I still need clarification that motorcycle licenses have not evolved at a similar pace. Indeed, electric motorcycles are less prevalent in Singapore. However, if the country is committed to embracing clean, renewable, and sustainable energy on the road, shouldn't motorcyclists be offered the option to learn automatic riding?

The only reason I recently enrolled in Class 2B was my excitement over an electric motorcycle that perfectly suited my lifestyle and commuting needs. I was thrilled at the prospect of not grappling with clutches, gear changes, and the intricacies of "feeling" the biting point. However, a minor incident last Friday reminded me of my limitations. I feel insecure riding alone because I struggle with multitasking on the road. This exclusionary feeling resurfaced for me and perhaps for many others like me. Curiously, Singapore has allowed Personal Mobility Devices such as e-bicycles on the road without proper training, leading to some users blatantly disregarding the rules and endangering themselves and others.

Wouldn't introducing a distinction between manual and electric motorcyclists help promote greater adoption of electric motorcycles on the road? It would undoubtedly prove valuable for future motorcyclists like myself who aim for a smoother commute in Singapore while ensuring our own safety and fellow road users without the concerns of clutches, gear changes, and the tactile nuances of biting points.