Are you one of the growing number of Singaporeans riding bicycles and using personal mobility devices (PMDs)? Many Singaporean are using different types of bicycles such as electric scooters and foldable bicycles for commuting and leisure.
While cycling can be fun and make commuting to work much easier, an increase in the usage of this mode of transportation has led to an increase in accidents involving bicycles and PMDs.
The COVID-19 outbreak resulted in a cycling boom last year. As a result, there were 572 traffic accidents involving bicycles, compared to only 459 accidents in 2019. That is a significant 25% increase compared to 2019.
Here are some tips you can follow to keep you and the people around you safe:
- Knowing Where You Can Ride Your Device
There are three paths in general, cycling paths, footpaths and roads. Power-Assisted Bicycles (PAB), Bicycle, Motorised and Non-Motorised Personal Mobility Device (PMD), and Personal Mobility Aid (PMA) are allowed on cycling paths.
In comparison, only Bicycles, PMAS and Non-Motorised PMDs are allowed on footpaths. Only cyclists and PABs riders are allowed to ride on roads (not including expressways and road tunnels).
Observe The Speed Limits
Cycling paths and park connectors have a speed limit of 25km/h, footpaths have a speed limit of 10km/h and users of roads will have to keep within the speed limit.
- Check your equipment before you ride
Bicycle accidents aren’t always caused by a careless or distracted rider. Sometimes, it is due to faulty equipment that causes accidents. Checking your mobility devices will drastically reduce the risk of such accidents.
- Check your tires – Make sure it is properly inflated
- Check your lights – Lights and reflector should be in working condition
- Check your gears – Chains and gears should be free from defects or cracks
- Check your batteries – Ensure that the batteries do not have any punctures or dents
- Personal Protective Equipment
Cyclists should wear helmets and wear long sleeves with elbow padding (or wear elbow guards) to protect in case of a fall. Cyclists should also choose bright or fluorescent-colored clothing to remain visible to traffic and pedestrians. You might have thought “Wearing a helmet is so uncomfortable and also not mandatory in Singapore” but hey, bicycle helmets can reduce the risk of serious head injury by almost 70%! Don’t take the risk!
As Singapore is a tropical country, it is generally warm and humid all year round with occasional rain. You should check the weather forecast that day to prepare yourself. If it is bright and sunny, do bring protective clothing like caps and sunglasses! It helps to protect your eyes from the sunlight and keeps your eyes focused on the road. If the weather is wet, road conditions would become slippery and visibility will be reduced.
Watch out for night cycling! Use lights so other people can be aware of your presence. Avoid puddles to reduce tractions and try to avoid cycling altogether if possible.
Personal Mobility Insurance
It is strongly encouraged that non-commercial riders should purchase Personal Mobility Insurance. You will feel more at ease if you have protected yourself from expenses arising from accidents and third-party claims.
Now you may ask…What is Personal Mobility Insurance?
What is Personal Mobility insurance?
- Personal mobility insurance is meant to cover death or injuries resulting directly from accidents related to cycling/riding your bicycle or mobility devices.
- The plans usually have a larger 3rd party liability coverage than regular personal accident plans.
- They also provide additional optional coverage for your bicycles or personal mobility devices such as bicycle damage and theft.
What does the insurance cover?
Personal accident (personal mobility) insurance covers a variety of accidents with varying amounts of payouts which are determined by the extent of the seriousness of the accident.
Listed below are some common types of accidents that are covered:
- Accidental Death
The accidental death or permanent disability suffered by the insured person due to an injury must happen within 12 months from the date of the accident. The amount of benefit payable is subject to the scale of compensation in the policy contract.
- Medical expenses
You sustain bodily injuries during the Period of Insurance while using/riding on a PMD or bicycle which requires medical treatment from a certified clinic or hospital.
- Personal Liability
Accidental death or bodily injury to the third party and/or causing loss or damage to property which does not belong to you, caused directly by you using/riding a PMD or bicycle.
- Optional cover
Some personal mobility insurance also provides additional cover for the loss or theft of bicycles. You will be reimbursed if your bicycle is damaged in an accident, or through malicious intent. It is also possible to make claims if your bike is stolen from your home.
Do I need personal mobility insurance?
If you frequently ride on a bicycle or other personal mobility device, there is a higher probability that you might get into an accident. Accidentally hitting someone with a bicycle can cause some serious injury. A nimble pedestrian may be able to avoid getting hit but there are many cases where the victims are not so lucky.
The responsible thing to do is to get personal mobility insurance, although it may not be compulsory, if you accidentally injure someone and they want you to compensate them, you will be glad that you decide to sign up for a personal mobility plan.
A high-quality bicycle such as a Brompton can easily cost more than a few thousand dollars, hence, it makes sense for you to get it insured just in case it got stolen from your home.
Bike theft happens more often than you would think. Some Personal Mobility plans do provide additional coverage for up to 3 of your bicycles, it would be a great idea especially if the costs of your bicycles are higher than average.
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