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Proposed rule may compromise safety of child pillion riders: Forum

Proposed rule may compromise safety of child pillion riders: Forum

Source: Straits Times
Article Date: 15 Apr 2021

The change may lead to an ill-intended consequence - the safety of pillion riders who are children may be compromised.

I refer to the Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill introduced for the first reading in Parliament on April 5.

One of the key amendments is to penalise motorcyclists who fail to ensure that their pillion riders wear approved helmets, and increase penalties for those importing or selling non-approved helmets.

Motorcyclists and pillion riders need to use approved helmets with the "TUV SUD PSB Test Batch Inspected" label that conforms to the Singapore Standard 9: 2014.

I applaud the reasons and intentions behind this Bill, and appreciate that it aims to ensure the safety of motorcyclists.

However, the change may lead to an ill-intended consequence - the safety of pillion riders who are children may be compromised, as current child-size helmets may not get certified in Singapore, leading people to opt for ill-fitting PSB-approved headgear.

Some of the reputable motorcycle helmet brands have specially designed children's helmets (taking into account the unique shape and smaller size of children's heads) that have United States' Snell M2005 or Europe's ECE (Economic Commission for Europe) 22.05 rating.

These ratings are internationally recognised and endorsed by several racing governing commissions, yet testing is required again in Singapore.

There is a difference between placing additional padding in an adult-size helmet to make it fit for a child, and using a helmet designed specifically for children.

Local helmet importers are unwilling to import such children's helmets as this is a small market.

The additional cost of PSB testing per batch makes it uneconomical for importers.

Even if these businesses are willing to incur such costs, these will eventually be passed on to the end consumer.

In my view, a child wearing an ill-fitting but PSB-approved helmet is not as safe as one who is wearing a well-fitted helmet that is certified to meet other international standards, though it may not be PSB-approved.

Ong Chin Kai

Source: Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Permission required for reproduction.

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