Christopher Serju, Sunday Gleaner Writer
A simple measure such as wearing the proper shoes can make a significant difference in the nature of injuries to children pedal cyclists, according to Dr Dayanand Sawh, consultant orthopaedic surgeon at the Bustamante Hospital for Children.
"A pet peeve of mine is a bicycle spoke injury. It's (caused by) a burn, because bicycle spokes get really hot and it's a mechanical operation, and we admit about three to five (patients) a week at the Bustamante hospital," Sawh said during an address at the recent Driver & Safety Expo at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre, Hope Road, St Andrew.
He had a simple suggestion for parents as a practical way of reducing the risk of such injuries.
"All you have to do is make sure the kids wear shoes. That's all you have to do - not slippers, not low tops. Proper, fitted, high-top shoes," Sawh said.
Some 80 per cent of road crashes involving this vulnerable group result in head injuries and other serious body harm, which could be avoided with the use of helmets, elbow pads and knee pads, which are mandated by law in Europe.
In addition, the lack of protective gear and failure to equip bicycles with simple safety features to help improve the visibility of pedal cyclists to other road users ae also causes for concern.
Even as Sawh took issue with the inadequacy of the local traffic regulations, he pointed to the need for greater public cooperation in promoting and maintaining road safety.
"Learner drivers, I confess that when I see this in front of me, I am filled with frustration, anxiety and the sure knowledge I am going to be late wherever I am going and my first temptation - overtake!" Sawh said.
"In my calmer moods, I remember I was there once. Then you remember two important points: that driver is well within the speed limit, are you?; and that driver is more likely to be obeying all the rules of the road than you are. So I think (we need) a little more tolerance," he appealed.