First, it was the giving away of 135,000 safety helmets to riders all across the nation. Then the government announced the reduction of motorcycle driving licenses from RM20 to only RM2. The cost of securing a B2 motorcycle license then fell from nearly RM280 to RM210.

Can we next expect the government to provide motorcyclists with free personal accident policies?

In a country where huge tractors have gone lost from government establishments and jet engines worth millions of ringgit have been carted out and sold overseas, anything is quite possible. Malaysia Boleh, I suppose!

Very recently, the Road Safety Department Director General, Datuk Sureet Singh, announced the Rider Survival Programme would be a value-added module on top of the present mandatory 6 hour theory course and practical training which a potential candidate has to undergo prior to his being issued a Learner’s Driving License (L.D.L.) or “L” license by the J.P.J. The above steps were announced in safety campaign programme in Kuala Lumpur recently.

Beginning from the year 2010, motorcyclists will now be taught survival skills at selected driving institutions all across the country. The aim is to reduce and minimize road fatalities involving motorcyclists.

What does this programme hope to achieve? What are the aims of the government in launching such a campaign, one may tend to inquire?

First and foremost, it is the intention of the authorities concerned to make it a continuous effort to change the mindset of motorcyclists. And also to make road safety a culture, especially among the youths of today.

What has this programme been thought fit to be introduced at this stage?

With the problem of the “Mat Rempit” menace escalating all across the whole country, the government obviously has to do something to contain the problem.

One should not forget though, 60% of all road fatalities in the country involve motorcyclists. According to the Director General of the Road Transport Department, Datuk Sureet Singh, “motor cyclists who currently had the “L” license will now have to undergo compulsory training under the programme before they can be awarded a license to ride.

Under the programme, various important skills such as:

i) How to face unforeseen problems as punctured tyres.

ii) How to deal with bumpy roads.

iii) How to contend with obstacles such as such and stones on the road.

In short, new motorcyclists holding “P” licenses can now be expected to equipped with not only the Highway Code and practical training, practical and survival knowledge as well.

This new programme is to be available free of charge in all driving institutions which currently come under the auspices of the Association of Malaysian Driving Institutes.

Datuk Sureet Singh further reiterated, this model programme would become a model for other ASEAN countries to follow.

It was also reported that Social Security Organisation (SOCSO) would be playing a vital and important part in the programme. This is due to the fact that 19,742 claims have been put forward to SOCSO for commuting or “going to work” claims by motorcyclists. 80% of claims involve motorcyclists.

SOCSO was said to have paid out claims amounting to some RM1.8 million in compensation to subscribers last year alone.

All in all, it is my opinion that this program, which is free, will certainly go along way to help motorcyclists and riders tackle problem which they will face whilst on the road.

Eventually, it is hoped the number of fatal accidents on our highways will be reduced tremendously. Syabas to the Road Safety Department and the authorities as a whole, for launching such a good move! We all await patiently to see the results of the programme.

Ride safely and wear your helmets. To the Minister of Transport, Datuk Ong Tee Keat, bravo for job well done!