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Safety Tips on Cycling
Cycling around the neighbourhood is a great way for you and your child to bond over a fun and healthy activity. However, bicycle injuries can be a cause for concern.
A study done by KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) found that of the 242 children who were seen at the Emergency Department from January 2008 to December 2010 for bicycle spoke-related injuries, nearly 40% of them had serious injuries that includes fractures, open wounds and dislocations.
Some of these injuries were caused by untied shoelaces and accessories that become stuck in the bicycle spokes. Remember the precautions below for a safer and more enjoyable ride.
Don’t get caught in the spokes!
- Before setting off, check that there are no loose pant legs, cords and drawstrings on clothes, untied shoelaces or backpack straps that can get caught in the bicycle chain or spokes.
- You can also install spoke guards to minimize the risk of your child’s foot getting trapped between the spokes of a rotating wheel.
Always wear proper shoes that cover your whole feet. Sandals and flip-flops may not provide sufficient grip when peddling and they do not provide adequate foot protection.
Always wear a helmet for protection
- To ensure proper protection, make sure the helmet fits well, especially on children who might have outgrown theirs.
- Supervise your child to make sure that helmets are worn correctly.
- For extra protection, you may wish to purchase riding gloves as well as elbow and knee guards for your child.
Check your equipment
- Choose a bicycle that is the right size and provides good balance. Do not let your child ride a bicycle that he or she has outgrown, or one that is too big.
- Before riding off check that:
- wheels are properly inflated.
- seat, handlebars and wheels are secured.
- brakes are working well.
- bicycle chain is properly tightened.
Explain hazards and supervise your child at all times
Proper supervision of children is still the most important way to protect them from cycling-related injuries. Children may not anticipate problems the same way adults do. You need to be alert and keep an eye out for possible dangers.
Pillion riding – more dangerous than you think
The same study by KKH also found that 76% of the injured children were pillion riders, with the majority between ages two to six.
The Singapore Road Safety Council advises against carrying a pillion rider when cycling on the road. If it is absolutely necessary, use a well-fitted children’s bicycle seat with an accompanying footrest. Also check that the buckles, clips and straps are correctly and securely adjusted and fastened, and make sure that your child is wearing a helmet when riding with you.
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