Toddler decapitated by scarf in freak motorcycle accident
Are you aware of motorcycle rules for kids?
Freak accidents on motorbikes are rare, but this unfortunate case is extremely shocking.
Lorna Stephanie Nueva was returning home on motorcycle with her 19-month-old son from visiting a clinic in Catarman, Samar, the Philippines, close to 50km away from their home in Palapag. Her son was wearing a scarf to shield him from the sun.
Reportedly, the scarf snagged in the rear wheel of the motorbike, severing the toddler’s head in seconds. The incident happened so fast that no one was able to react in time.
Worse still, this was the second unfortunate incident to happen to the family. Two years ago, Lorna’s eldest daughter drowned in a river where they lived.
An investigation into the incident is currently underway. Reports say the little one’s mother is still in shock over what happened.
Avoid freak accidents on motorbikes – 5 tips to ride safely with kids
While freak accidents on motorbikes like the unfortunate case above happen few and far in between, riding a motorcycle is still pretty dangerous. It’s safe to say that motorcyclists and pillion riders are more likely to be caught in a fatal road accident – the only protection is a helmet.
Take the image above. It is the perfect example of what NOT to do when riding a motorcycle with your child. Your child should be wearing a helmet and should be seated behind you.
Follow these simple precautions from the Singapore Police Force to ride safe with your kids. Take note that Rule 36 of the Singapore Road Traffic Rules, Road Traffic Act Chapter 276, Section 140 states that no person riding a motorcycle shall carry any child below 10 years of age as a pillion passenger.
1. Get a proper kids’ helmet.
No, the extra helmet you have will not do for your child. The oversized helmet will simply come off their head during an accident. Your child should own a proper helmet that fits snugly. It should have a face shield. Also check if the helmet you purchased for yourself and your child conforms to government product safety standards. In Singapore, it should have a label that says “TUV SUD PSB Test”.
2. Buy proper gear
Protection is everything, even if your kid eventually outgrows the motorcycle clothing you bought. Aim for heavy leather or thick denim jackets and heavyweight jeans with heavy duty stitching – this provides some form of protection in case of an accident. Also get a pair of leather gloves to protect their hands from scratches if they fall. Closed footwear is a must.
3. Don’t seat your child in front
You might think that seating your child in the front protects them. Not only is it illegal, it’s more likely that they will fall off the bike, or make it harder for you to control the motorcycle. Instead, they should be seated behind you, holding onto your waist tightly.
4. Teach them to balance and basic safety
If they have smaller arms and can’t hold on to you, purchase a child’s riding belt. This is a harness that wraps around your kid’s legs, shoulders and waist. It’s actually easy to wear, and difficult for them to remove as the quick release buckles are on their back. Don’t forget to teach them these basic safety tips – they should get on the motorcycle from the left side, be wary of the hot exhaust pipe and make sure their feet are never anywhere near the wheels.
5. Adopt defensive riding
It goes without saying, but always keep a safe distance from other vehicles, don’t over take a group of vehicles at once, slow down when approaching a bend. Be on the lookout for children and animals, and anticipate pedestrians that might run across the road. Practice the two second rule, give two seconds between braking and completely stopping behind a vehicle. Remember it’s not only your life, but the life of your child that’s at risk when you ride recklessly.