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Youngsters should be educated on safe cycling

Monday, 3 April 2017

PETALING JAYA: Former national cyclists and cycling officials should play a pivotal role in educating youngsters on proper ways and technique of riding bicycles to ensure their safety.

Former Olympics cyclist and 1965 SEAP Games gold medalist, Shaharuddin Jaafar said it was crucial to save the lives of teenage cyclists who behave like ‘wild horses’ on the road. The 76-year-old himself had taken the initiative to train groups of teenage cyclists in his housing area after the tragic accident in Johor Bahru which saw 8 teenagers killed in February.

“After I heard the news in Johor Bahru, I was deeply saddened. When I saw a group of youngsters riding bicycles near my housing area after that, I approached them and volunteered to train them without charging any fees.

“Now I have a group of 20 cyclists in Shah Alam and another 11 in Klang, learning to practice cycling without risking anyone’s life. They (teenage cyclists) become ‘wild horses’ on the road because no one guides or trains them to use the bicycles the correct way,” he said when met by Bernama here, today.

“The most important thing I always emphasised to them is safety…I make sure everyone in the group wear helmets, proper attire and every bicycle must have brakes. After that, I train them on the right technique and road regulations for a safe ride,” he added.

During the 18 February incident,8 boys were killed while 8 more were injured when a car hit them at the Jalan Lingkaran Dalam in Johor Bahru. Though the incident drew great attention from media and social media and calls for action to curb risky cycling activities were heard, many still continue such activities, especially teenagers who behave like ‘mat rempit’ on the roads late night.

Early morning today, 22 youngsters including two girls were detained by police for gathering and cycling at the same place around midnight where the eight cyclists were killed about 2 months ago. According to Shaharuddin, most cyclists involved in such activities were from the below middle class families and they use modified fixie bicycles, a fixed-wheel bicycle which often has no brakes, because they cannot afford to buy proper road bikes or mountain bikes which are expensive.

“Fixie bicycles can cause great risks for riders if they are not properly trained. The price of fixie bicycles are about 50% – 70% lower than the mountain or road bikes,” he said.

The former secretary-general of Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF) also advised local councils (PBT) and resident associations to organise activities and programmes to create awareness among parents and teenagers.

“Cycling is not a bad activity but rather a very beneficial one, in fact in Europe, people are highly encouraged to cycle and they do it with their families. In Malaysia we have a different mentality and look down upon someone who is cycling, we need to change this mentality. The government should build more facilities and infrastructure for the public to practice cycling activities safely,” he said.

Source by: Internet

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