By now, most of you would have already read or heard about the tragic incident that occurred last Monday evening in Tampines. Two brothers, aged 13 and 7, were killed on the spot when they were hit by a cement truck while crossing the road at a traffic light junction on a bicycle.
My heart truly sank when I read the news. Two bright lovable young boys, with promising futures, gone just like that. I don't think I can even comprehend the grief and devastation that their parents must be going through. No parent should ever have to go through the pain of standing in front of his/her child's coffin.
And quite frankly, I detest reading such news because morbid thoughts inevitably start creeping into my mind. It makes me ponder when the wifey and I can truly let go of our kids' hands as they grow older.
What is the magic age?
I was in Secondary One before I was allowed to go home on my own after school. The wifey assumed independence earlier - she walked to and back from school when she was in upper primary. Now that I have my own kids, I am not so sure anymore.
On one hand, I would not mind sending them to school or anywhere on this island for that matter as long as I am able to. But yet, I know there will come a certain point in their lives where I have to just simply take a leap of faith and let their hands go.
A lot has been said - both online and offline - about the urgent need to inculcate greater road safety awareness, to crack down on errant speeding truck drivers, to make traffic junctions safer and to make the crossing signs more prominent.
All well and good. But if you ask me, I would like to think that road safety is the responsibility of everyone. No doubt you can be the safe one who obeys all the traffic rules, but that is not to say you would not be involved in an accident all thanks to someone else's mistake. So everyone has a part to play.
If you drive, you can start by always slowing down near traffic junctions and zebra crossings especially in the vicinity of schools. The victims' father had said, "I hope those driving on the roads think about other people's families. On these small roads, it's better to travel within the speed limits... I have only two kids. It's your mistake. I have to suffer."
If you cycle, always dismount and push your bicycle whenever you come to a traffic crossing. That way, you are forced to stop and take a second look at the traffic, instead of blindly assuming that just because the light is in your favour, all traffic must come to a halt.
If you are a pedestrian, wait for the vehicles to come to a complete stop even if the green man has come on. And keep your eyes on the vehicles while you cross. And as adults, if we do see young kids and the elderly waiting to cross the same road as us, we can lend a helping hand by helping to keep a watchful eye on them as we cross the road together.
You look out for mine, and I look out for yours. There isn't any need to wait for LTA, Traffic Police or any other agency to roll out more safety measures. We can all make a difference if everyone puts in a concerted effort into making our roads safer for all our loved ones.
At the end of the day, it isn't so much about who has the right of way. If a life is lost in a traffic accident, it is one life too many.