A Whole New Two-Wheel Generation

If there’s one evolving trend which didn’t need so much push to get Singaporeans and others on board, it is the use of various mobility devices and e-bikes to get in and around our city state.

Like ducks to water, young and old alike they can be seen, some a bit awkwardly and others dexterously, zipping from one destination to another, often with a gleeful look on their faces. It is indeed gratifying to see white-haired uncles and aunties who have mobility issues being able to move around on their own. Equally delightful is the sight of young kids on their kick-scooters and adults getting about their lives with a breeze.

We used to see skateboards and roller-bladers, but increasingly the younger people are moving on to more zippy two-wheelers.

Bicycles, including the power-assisted ones, have also been making a stronger presence in the past five years. They are expected to latch on to the great mobility movement especially with the push for a car-lite city. On any day, just go around our Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC and you can spot residents happily getting about on their devices, be it on a trip to the hawker centre, the shopping mall or even to the library or community centre.

There is now a gradual paradigm shift and you see working adults riding e-bikes and other mobility scooters around the Central Business Districts and other office areas. Even the SMRT trains started a trial to allow passengers with foldable bicycles and personal mobility devices (PMD) on buses and trains at all hours, instead of just off-peak hours.

However, as with all things that move with wheels, there’s a need to exercise responsibility, with the safety of the riders and the other road users in mind. This is especially for the e-bikes and PMDs when they are riding along the pathways, pedestrian walkways and void decks, and at road crossings too.

When you take into account that these devices can go at speeds of between 10 and 25kmh, an accident can cause serious injury. So, let us continue to enjoy our new found “toy” but do give consideration to others too. We don’t have to wait till fatal accidents take place before we sit up and awake ourselves. Surely, we do not need to let the LTA enforcement officers issue summons before we smarten up our riding.

Here are some simple guidelines to follow:

-Check your vehicles to make sure the brakes and lights are working before you start your journey;
-Be attentive of your surroundings and look out for pedestrians and others;
-Take note that electric bikes are allowed on roads, and cycling or shared paths, but NOT on footpaths under the Land Transport Authority (LTA) rules;
-Never use your handphones when you are riding (stop by the side where you are visible if you must use your handphone);
-Don’t weave in and out of pedestrians expecting others to look out for you;
-Cyclists must be mindful of the road safety rules when travelling on the road.

Many of our residents may have travelled to Europe, l.e. France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden or even to Australia or Japan. You may observe how the cycling is done in such an enjoyable and relaxed atmosphere. Young men and women going about their lives exercising good road courtesy, and of course there are many places where special lots are provided for them to alight and park.

– This article first appeared in a Town Council newsletter.
Picture from Pixabay

Summer Vacations: Beat the Heat when you Travel

Summer vacation is the longest break in many countries for a good reason. It is the time of the year when the skies are bright and blue, when flowers bloom in a multitude of brilliant colours. It is also the time in the northern hemisphere when the daylight hours are the longest, and there is more sun than rain. If you love the sand and the sea, then you’ll be spoilt for choice. The beauty and fine weather of summer makes it one of the best times to travel to any where.

Yet summer also means intensely hot temperatures, sometimes made worst by sudden heat waves, and an increased risk of heat-related illnesses and fatal heat strokes. With each year creating a new record tempera-ture-wise, we can only expect the summers to get hotter. Last summer, the British suffered a sweltering heat wave that saw the temperate go as high as 34 degrees Celsius. The year before, Kitzingen in Germany was blasted with a heatwave of 40.3 degrees Celsius. To think that many of us cite escaping the hot and humid Singapore weather as one of the reasons for our getaways!

Still, the heat should not stop us from enjoying resplendent blooms or pristine beach waters. Here are some tips to make the high temperatures more tolerable.

Pack light clothing is a given, but dressing for summer can be a conundrum. While tank tops and shorts seem like the obvious answer, you’ll be exposing a large part of your bare skin to scorching hot sun rays. And, if you don’t diligently apply sunblock, you’ll certainly wind up with bad sunburn. The trick is to bring a large scarf made of light, cooling material —cotton, silk and linen are good choices. You can wrap it around your neck, or drape over your shoulders and arms when the sun gets too scorching. But don’t get lazy with the sunblock. A breathable hat with shade, and sunglasses will help keep the heat off your head. Even guys can go for the newsboy caps or sun hats — it can help make a fashion statement too!

Mini electric fans are good to have for keeping you cool, but sometimes, manual fanning works better when you fan with gusto. Foldable nylon frisbees are not only capable of conjuring a decent amount of wind with light fanning motions, they are also incredibly convenient to carry around. If you can spare the extra space, cooling mists and wet wipes will improve your mood considerably in the sweltering sun.

The good thing about summer is that the sun stays up longer, which gives greater flexibility in planning activities. Hence you might want to plan the museum trip in mid-day, and head to the sunflower field nearer to the evening, which is said to be the best time for outdoor photography.

Consuming plenty of water is essential to keep you cool and hydrated. Make sure you bring a refillable water bottle with you. These days, many public attractions and outdoor spaces will have drinking fountains. If you must buy water, then it is an expense that you must not spare. Surely it is more worthwhile to spend on water, than on medical fees incurred from a heat stroke on top of a ruined trip.

Above all, listen to your body. Headaches, fatigue, thirst and dizziness are common initial signs of heat-related illnesses, and you should immediately stop, take shelter, rest and drink water.

– This article first appeared in a lifestyle magazine.
Picture from Pixabay