Thanks to the improvements made to cycling infrastructure, there has been an increase in the use of bicycles and Personal Mobility Devices (PMDs) like e-scooters or kick scooters. As more people cycle and use PMDs, it has become more important than ever for cyclists and device users to learn about the best way to stay safe on our shared paths. In this aspect, two schools have made a head start on safe cycling education. At Tanglin Trust School and Nanyang Girls’ High School, pupils are already learning about safe riding practices as part of their official school curriculum.
For Nanyang Girls’ High School, the safe cycling education takes the form of a Secondary 3 cycling elective. Started in 2014, it was introduced as part of the school’s Physical Education Programme, aimed at incorporating good lifelong habits and inculcating a love for sport.
Over the course of three one-hour lessons, Nanyang’s girls get to learn everything there is to learn about safe cycling from the school’s PE and experiential learning teachers.
The programme covers a mix of topics delivered through both theory and practical sessions. For instance, the theory covers topics like safety measures and how to check your bike while the practical lessons include hands-on cycling practice and training circuits. At the end of the programme, the students test their cycling skills on a field trip around Linden Drive and Turf City’s Saddle Club.
The students also get to ride both mountain bikes and foldable bicycles to get a better understanding of how to handle different types of bicycles.
“Our school sees cycling as an important life skill and hence it became a module taken by all Sec 3 students,” Mien Mien Agnes Ng, Dean of Nanyang Girls High School said.
The elective has been well-received by the parents. Mrs Fam Siew Bee, parent of a Sec 4 girl, expressed her support for the program. “As a parent, I am glad that the school has such a programme for both cycling skills and safety measures and rules. I am grateful for such an initiative,” she said.
Mr. C. L. Tan, parent of Sec 3 student, agrees with the sentiment.
“My daughter, Ruth definitely benefited a lot from the cycling elective,” He said, “Cycling is an important life skill that one should acquire. As such, the teaching of cycling safety is also essential and it prepares the students well when they go for cycling in the parks and along their neighbourhood’s streets.”
Nanyang Girls is not alone in recognising the importance of active mobility. Tanglin Trust School (TTS), an international school located near one-north, has launched a similar cycling educational project – the TTS Foundation Pedal Power Programme.
The programme offers introductory lessons on the safety and benefits of bike-riding. Over the course of eight weeks, the school aims to help its students understand bike safety on the roads as well as how cycling can contribute to a healthy lifestyle.
The first lesson takes place in the classroom with students learning about the health benefits of cycling, the importance of road safety and how to put on their helmets and safety pads properly.
In the second session, they familiarise themselves with the bike and learn how to check for problems like faulty brakes or flat tyres. They also learn about correct behaviour – like when they should dismount and walk the bike.
After this introduction to basic safety, the programme will guide non-riders on their bikes and hopefully improve the riding skills of those who can already cycle. By the end of the programme, the students should be able to ride their bikes with a measure of confidence.
Since its launch, the TTS Foundation Pedal Power Programme has been welcomed enthusiastically by both parents and children alike. Many of the students have gained a sense of achievement from learning to cycle and some even feel empowered to share their knowledge with younger siblings.
“I just want to provide feedback on how much the bike riding lesson has boosted my son’s confidence,” said one of the parents. “He has been on his bike every day since and his smile has grown bigger and bigger each time.”
If safe cycling lessons are not available in your school, fear not. LTA is launching a Safe Riding Programme where the general public can learn about the best ways to cycle happy while staying safe. You’re never too old (or young) to learn about safe cycling!