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RajuÂ’s New Cycle! Road Safety Stories for Children
Rajus father was the village milkman. All day long he rode to peoples houses on his cycle and delivered milk, butter and cream. Since Rajus father was an honest and friendly person more and more people wanted to buy milk from him. That meant deliveries to more places. One day Rajus father was telling Rajus mother that he was thinking of selling his cycle and buying a motorcycle for his deliveries. Raju, who was sitting next to his father doing his homework, heard his father talking about selling his cycle. He had always loved his fathers cycle and had always waited for his father to return home every evening so he could ride it in the ground near his house. Raju went up to his father and asked his father if he could give him the cycle instead of selling it. At first Rajus father said no. You are too young to own your own cycle. And I know that once you have it you will not pay much attention to your studies. Other than that your mother would be worried sick all day with you on the roads, said his father.
But Rajus sad face was too much for his father. Even his mother knew how much Raju wanted a cycle. Let him have it. I promise not to be that worried about him. And I know Raju has been doing very well in school nowadays. He is always telling me about the new things he learns everyday. He also helps me a great deal with the household chores. I guess it would be ok if we give the cycle to him. He will manage well, his mother said.
Hearing this Rajus dad agreed. But he thought the cycle was too big for Raju. Why dont I exchange my cycle for a smaller one, said Rajus dad. The next day Rajus father got Raju a cycle of his size. However, he had a few conditions for Raju to fulfill. The cycle was old and rusty. Before Raju could have it he would have to fix it as it was dangerous to ride cycles with old chains and brakes. Without any warning they could stop working resulting in unfortunate accidents and injuries. Rajus dad would never want Raju to ride a cycle that had weak chains or had a brake that did not work. Raju, overjoyed with the fact that he could have his own cycle, agreed to work hard on his cycle to make sure it was safe to ride.
The next day after school, Raju ran home. He was excited because today he would help his father fix the cycle. His own cycle! Raju also took his sister along to see. The first thing Raju wanted to do was to paint his cycle. He wanted his cycle to be black and blue in color so all his friends could see how different it looked from all the other cycles in the village. But his father could not disagree more. Dont you know that the color of your cycle is one of the most important things when riding in the evening and at night? Not just your cycle but even your clothes should be bright enough so people can see you on the road even when it is dark and there are no lights. You ought to paint your cycle a bright orange with white stripes. That way it will be visible even at night. You should also wear fluorescent arm bands when riding in the evening, at night or early in the morning, Rajus father said. Raju didnt mind the idea of wearing an arm band but he didnt especially like the orange and white color that his father suggested. Raju asked his sister, Kiran, what color she would want the cycle to be. She said pink. Raju decided to color it orange and white rather than pink.
Next Raju and his father started fixing the chains, pedals and brakes. Do you know why it is important to know your brakes and chains are always working? Rajus father asked. He went on, I remember once when it was raining and the roads were a little wet. I was delivering milk and a herd of goats came out from nowhere on the road. I let go of my pedals and jammed the brakes but they just didnt work. Moreover, my chains got loose and I couldnt control the cycle. I spilt all the milk and severely injured myself. Raju remembered his fathers injury. He had broken his foot and could not deliver milk for a whole week. What was worse that he could not even get out of bed. That was something Raju did not want to happen. He vowed never to ride his cycle without first checking if everything was working and in place.
Next Raju wanted a nice big mirror on his cycle. He wanted a nice big one so he could fix his hair if the breeze messed it up. Mirrors on cycles and cars are not for fixing your hair Raju, his father told him. You use these mirrors to see if there is a vehicle approaching you from behind. Raju did not understand this. Why would someone who was going forward want to look at who or what is coming from behind?
The next week RajuÂ’s cycle was all shiny and ready to be taken to school. His uncle had bought him a shiny new bell telling him that after a strong brake it was one of the most important things to ride safely on the road.
A boy in Rajus school, Majid, had also gotten a new cycle. After school, when Raju was heading back home, Majid and his younger brother, who was dangerously seated on Majids cycles handlebars, joined Raju on the way back home. The two boys were in a mischievous mood as they sped up and down the road. Raju was worried that Majids brother might have a bad fall from the handlebars. The boys rode up to Raju and asked him if he wanted to race till his home.
It had rained the last night and Raju did not want to ride fast on the wet roads. So he decided not to race Majid and his brother. The two brothers laughed at Raju for being a coward and sped away on the road. There are no cars on the road today, they said. What are you worrying about?
But Raju knew it was not safe to race on roads that were wet with rain. He could see Majid and his brother speeding up ahead. What was worse was that Majid was riding his cycle in the middle of the road. Raju remembered what his father had told him a few days back that people should always ride their cycles on the leftmost lane. And here was Majid swerving on the middle of the road without a worry in the world. Suddenly Raju noticed a car in the mirror on his cycle. He understood why mirrors were important to have on your cycle. He noticed that the car was speeding up on the road and Majid had no idea it was there. Raju slowed down so as to let the car pass by safely. Raju tried yelling out to Majid but Majid would just not listen. He was lost in his cycling left and right on the road. Raju had to do something to alert Majid of the car.
He had a spur of the moment idea. He rang his shiny new bell as hard as he could so Majid could hear. Finally, Majid looked back. For a moment Majid had a look of disbelief as he saw the car approaching him. He panicked and jammed the brakes on his cycle. Poor Majid was riding so fast that he could not control his cycle.
The tires slipped on the road as the brakes tried to stop the cycle, the chains broke off and cycle slipped to the side of the road where MajidÂ’s brother was thrown off the handlebars into a ditch filled with mud wet from last nightÂ’s rain. Majid on the other hand had scraped his knee and was in bruises and tears. It was a day when all three children had learnt an important lesson.
Road Safety Advice for Cyclists: Make sure your chains are in place and the bell, brakes, tires are working well. Make sure your cyclesÂ’ lights and back reflectors are clean. When you have to carry anything on your cycle, use a bag that you can hang around your cycle so that your hands are free. Make sure that your clothing or anything else does not get caught in the chain or wheels. Always wear a helmet. It will help protect you if you have an accident. Make sure that other road users can see you. Wear light colored and fluorescent material in daylight and something reflective at night like a reflector. Riding a bike which is too big or too small can affect your balance. Always ride a cycle of your size. Before starting off, turning right or left, overtaking, or stopping, you must look behind and make sure it is safe and then give a clear arm signal to show what you intend to do. When you get on your cycle look all around for traffic. When it is safe to move off, cycle away. Always keep both hands on the handlebars unless you are signaling. You must obey traffic light signals and road signs, and the signals made by police officers, traffic wardens or road safety officers. You must not hold onto any vehicle or another cyclist. You must not carry a passenger on your cycle unless it is specially designed to do so. You must never carry a passenger on your cycleÂ’s handlebars.
If riding with other cyclists on a busy or narrow road, you should ride one behind the other. Never ride more than two side by side. Be careful when cycling near goats, cows and other animals. Give them plenty of room as you go by. Be extra careful when cycling on roads that are damaged, wet or have a lot of rubbish on them.
Whenever the traffic is very busy or whenever you feel unsafe, get off your cycle and walk. If you want to turn right from a busy road, it is safer to stop on the left hand side before or after the junction and wait for a safe gap in the traffic before walking with your cycle across the road If you are overtaking a parked vehicle, look out for car doors opening or pedestrians crossing near them. You must stop for pedestrians at zebra crossings. You must have stop for the red light at traffic lights, including those at crossings. Remember, you have to watch out for pedestrians as much as you have to for vehicles on the road. You should never use a mobile phone while cycling.
Make sure you know what signals you can give while cycling on the road:
I intend to slow down or stop
I intend to move in to the left or turn left
I intend to move out to the right or turn right
Make sure you know what basic signals given by drivers are:
I am slowing down or stopping
I intend to move in to the left or turn left or stop on the left
I intend to move out to the right or turn right
Make sure you know what basic road safety signals are:
STOP: Vehicle approaching from both front and behind
STOP: Vehicle approaching from behind
STOP: Vehicle approaching from the front
COME ON: Waving on a vehicle from behind
COME ON: Waving on a vehicle from the side
COME ON: Waving on a vehicle from the front
Rajus New Cycle! There isnt a child in the world that is not fascinated by his first cycle. However, learning to ride a cycle requires that the child also learn aboutcrucial road safety rules. Read more about Rajus first cycle in this story and how a few points to remember can make the difference between a safe journey and one that ends up with bruises and injuries.
The Road Safety Education Program is a joint program that is being implemented in 100 schools of high-trafficdistricts of Sindh by the Road Sector Development Directorate, Government of Sindh and the Sindh Education Foundation. This story is part of a wonderful series of books that can help children learn more about keeping themselves safe on the streets. Read the whole series and be a road safe child.
Playing on the Road can be Fun but
Raju Learns Something New
Who is the Stranger in the Village?
Author: Youshey Zakiuddin
Sindh Education Foundation Government of Sindh
Road Sector Development Directorate Works and Services Department Government of Sindh
Raju and his Injury
Bablu and his Cleverness
Raju and his Wonderful Dream
Illustrator: Adeel uz Zafar Translator: Gul Baig GurGej Composer: Khadim Hussain
SINDH EDUCATION FOUNDATION Plot 9, Block 7, Kehkashan, Clifton 5, Karachi - 75600 Ph: (92-21) 111-424-111 (Ext: 216), Fax: (92-21) 9251652 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org