Boy's leg trapped in bicycle, sharing-firm ofo says bikes are for users above 18

The boy had abrasions on his leg but is recovering, said a spokesman for ofo bike.
The boy had abrasions on his leg but is recovering, said a spokesman for ofo bike.PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM YOUTUBE

SINGAPORE - Bicycle-sharing firm ofo has reassured users that its bikes are safe for use, after a young boy's leg was trapped in one for about 20 minutes on Sunday (June 11).

A video of the boy crying in pain, with his leg lodged between the rear wheel and bike frame, was shared on Facebook on Thursday, prompting some netizens to suggest that the bike was unsafe.

A spokesman for ofo told The Straits Times on Friday (June 16) that it has "a very strict policy where only verified users aged 18 and up are eligible to ride our bicycles".

It was alerted to the incident - which occurred when the boy slipped and fell into the bicycle's spokes - and responded within an hour.

"He managed to get detached from the bike shortly after with the aid of passers-by," said the spokesman. "The boy suffered minor scratches and abrasions, but is relatively unharmed. We wish him a quick recovery."

Shin Min Daily News said the incident happened at about 1.40pm on Sunday at Block 191, Boon Lay Drive.

A retiree told the Chinese evening daily that he was chatting with his friends downstairs when he heard a boy and a girl crying out.

About four or five people were at the scene trying to help the boy, he said.

They tried to extract his foot, but he kept crying out in pain. Finally, they moved the wheel and pulled his leg out. The boy had some abrasions on his leg.

The boy's father later came to take him away, after a neighbour informed him. The 50-year-old father who gave his name as Adam said that his son is up and about after two days of rest.

In response to online comments saying the bicycle is unsafe, the ofo spokesman said the firm is constantly looking at ways to improve its bikes with safety enhancements.

"Our latest fleet of bikes, the Aura 1.0, was launched less than a month ago, and is specifically designed for Singapore riders in mind," he said. "The improvements include a more durable braking system for a safe, stable and efficient braking process, front and back bicycle lights that are equipped with a sensing function, among many others."

It said it also has initiatives for rider responsibility such as increasing the number of designated parking spots, educating the community on responsible biking practices, and encouraging the community to report these incidents on our channels like our Facebook page and the app.

Here are some safety advice ofo bike gave to users:

- Follow all road safety rules

- Keep both hands on the handle bars while riding, except when signalling

- Wear proper footwear if possible, and keep both feet firmly on the pedals

- Be aware of your surroundings at all times while cycling