SINGAPORE — With cycling accidents on Pulau Ubin showing no signs of a let-up, the authorities have set up a first-aid facility on the island, heeding public calls in recent years for a formal space to attend to the injured.
The National Parks Board (NParks) told TODAY in response to queries that the first-aid room at the Ubin Living Lab opened in February 2016.
The lab is situated in the southwest of the island for education and research, and other uses.
Dr Adrian Loo, NParks’ acting group director of conservation, said that the first-aid room is equipped with an examination couch, first-aid materials and equipment such as stretchers, wheelchairs and an automated external defibrillator.
Since it opened, it has provided services for about 50 walk-in cases. Most of the people needed treatment for cuts and abrasions.
The same first-aid materials and equipment are available at the Ubin-HSBC Volunteer Hub — a one-stop centre several minutes by foot from the Ubin Jetty, Dr Loo added.
NParks staff members are at both spots to provide first aid during operation hours throughout the week.
The Ubin Living Lab opens from 9.30am to 4.30pm and the Ubin-HSBC Volunteer Hub, from 8.30am to 5.30pm, on weekdays and weekends.
In January 2015, TODAY reported that NParks was considering having a first-aid facility on the island at the suggestion of residents and visitors.
After the report ran, the Singapore Red Cross expanded its First Aider on Wheels programme to Pulau Ubin, deploying personnel to the island on public holidays since July 2015, and the second Sunday of every month since March or April 2016.
They are stationed at a first-aid post in the Ubin-HSBC Volunteer Hub.
Last year alone, Red Cross first-aiders attended to 100 to 120 casualties on the island, a spokesperson for the humanitarian agency told TODAY. At least half the cases were cycling-related, and common injuries included abrasions on the elbows and knees.
Less than 5 per cent of these casualties had to be evacuated by the Police Coast Guard to the mainland — some with head injuries from collisions or suspected heart attacks, the Red Cross spokesperson added.
Last year, the Police Coast Guard evacuated 52 casualties from Pulau Ubin to the mainland, up from 46 in 2016. Roughly 60 per cent of these cases last year were involved in cycling-related accidents, a police spokesperson said.
Besides the provision of first aid on the island, Dr Loo from NParks said that various measures have been in place to promote safe cycling.
These include notice boards at the jetty reminding visitors of safe cycling practices, and signs along the trails advising cyclists to dismount and push their bicycles, or to slow down at certain spots.
The island’s bicycle rental shops also offer protective gear, including helmets.
Dr Loo said: “We urge cyclists to exercise personal responsibility by wearing helmets and protective gear, observe signs that apprise them of the difficulty level of the trails and to adopt safe practices.
“Novice and younger cyclists should also be accompanied by experienced, adult cyclists.”
WRITTEN BY: Kenneth Cheng