Editor's note: With regards to the Straits Times report below, helmets do not cost from $100 upwards. There are cheaper ones available. My helmet cost $25-35. There are also helmets for rent on Ubin. Depending on the shop, it cost about $2-3 to rent a helmet from the bike shops.
母女乌敏岛骑脚踏车失控 母不治 女受伤
Lianhe Zaobao, 刘丽仪
Woman dies after falling from bike
She was not wearing helmet when she was flung going down a winding slope
Sujin Thomas, Straits Times 10 Sep 08;
THE death of a woman who was flung off her bicycle on Pulau Ubin has highlighted Singaporeans' tendency to skip wearing safety helmets while cycling.
The owner of Yen Fa Bicycle Rental on the island, who gave his name as Mr Sit, said when Mr Tiew Sin Keng, 44, turned up with his family of six on Sunday to rent four bicycles, including two tandem bikes, 'they didn't ask to rent helmets and I didn't offer them either'.
Each helmet costs $2 to rent for an entire day. Despite this low cost, only two in every 100 of his customers ask to rent them along with the bicycles.
Mr Sit, who has 50 bicycles and 10 helmets for rent, said: 'They don't like to wear helmets because they say that they are uncomfortable.'
Mr Tiew confirmed that the shop did not ask whether his family wanted to rent helmets.
His wife, Madam Lee Yan Inn, 41, was on one of the tandem bicycles with their daughter aged 15. They were then going down a winding slope along Jalan Wat Siam, which has an unmarked hump at its foot.
The family's lead rider, Madam Lee's mother, made it down the slope and over the hump safely at low speed.
But Madam Lee and her daughter, who were next, shot down the incline.
Mr Tiew said the hump might have stopped the bike suddenly and flung them off, or that his wife might have braked too hard, throwing her and their daughter off.
Madam Lee died at Changi General Hospital 11 hours later. Their daughter escaped with bruises.
Senior Parliamentary Secretary (Community Development, Youth and Sports) Teo Ser Luck, himself an avid cyclist and triathlete, said cyclists should wear helmets for safety - even when riding short distances.
He said a helmet saved him from serious injury two years ago when he was riding in a tight convoy with five others along Upper Thomson Road. His front wheel clipped the rear wheel of another bicycle and he fell, but 'I was fine because I was wearing a helmet'.
He said a friend who fell the same way was also unscathed but his helmet took the impact and cracked.
Depending on the brand, helmets cost upwards of $100 each.
That stretch of road where Madam Lee died is a known accident spot. Other bicycle rental businesses on the island said four accidents happen there every month.
A Land Transport Authority spokesman said that, aside from the usual warning signs like 'Slow' or 'Bend Ahead', additional signs saying 'Caution Steep Slope' have been put up along Jalan Wat Siam.
The president of the Singapore Amateur Cycling Association Victor Yew said that when going down slopes, cyclists should brake gently on their rear wheels.
'If you slam on the front-wheel brakes only, the momentum will cause the bike to flip over,' he said.
For Mr Tiew, tips like these are moot.
He said he would insist that his three children wear protective gear when cycling, but with the memory of how his wife has died, he added: 'I don't think I will cycle ever again.'
Fatal Cycling Accidents on Ubin, Pulau Ubin Stories, 8 Sep 2008