Some 20 years ago, an immediate neighbor of mine, Ah Choy, a mechanic, lost his one and only son, a 16 year old boy, in a motorcycle accident, which took place along Jalan Watson, Pelabuhan Klang.
In another motorcycle accident which I can still vividly recall, my wife’s 3rd uncle, took to riding a Vespa scooter oneday. As luck had it, a friend had borrowed the above mentioned person’s vehicle, to carry out an errand that fateful day. My wife’s 3rd uncle possesses valid motorcycle license. But in reality, he had not ridden a motorcycle for quite some time. Which ascending down a road near Jalan Kota, or Fort Road, a bus Mara crashed into him. He was unfortunately killed instantly.
Way back in the 1980’s, I still recall, the elder brother of a colleague, a Miss Chong, who hails from nearby Eng Ann Housing Estate in Klang, was said to have been riding a large 500c.c. “superbike” down south from Singapore. A large Petronas oil tanker graced the above rider’s handle bars near Gemas town in Johore. This incident caused the superbike to fall onto the ground and into the path of the oncoming large tanker. He suffered massive injuries and he died instantly.
There are many accidents involving motorcyclists which this writer can relate. In fact, the stories of such incidences would be endless if I were to relate them.
As a driving instructor who has been involved in the driving school business for well over 40 years now, I have time and again implored that the authorities take immediate steps to raise the minimum age of securing a motorcycle license, from 16 to a minimum age of at least 18. With such steps, hopefully a few young lives could be saved. But unfortunately, the above call has fallen upon deaf ears. The authorities, for reasons unknown, have chosen to ignore such pleas.
JPJ Director-General, Datuk Solah Mat Hassan, announced the authorities will from hence forth take stern actions upon motorcyclists. It seems that the authorities are said to be very concerned with the high number of total accidents involving motorcyclists and their pillion riders.
According to Datuk Solah, the JPJ Director-general, in the past 3 years, some 12,000 motorcyclists and pillion riders have died in road accidents so far.
The government’s directive to all driving institutes made nearly a year ago, which lowered the cost of securing a B2 (below 250c.c.) motorcycle driving license from approximately RM 350- RM 400, to a mandatory RM 205, can very likely be said to be a cause for the 12,000 deaths which the motorcyclists sustained.
Would it not be a wiser move, for the government to allow the cost of securing a B2 motorcycle driving license, be pegged at RM 350- RM 400. By lowering the cost of getting a B2 motorcycle to RM 205, it has led to more and more youths being able to secure a riding license at such a tender age. Hence, the 12,000 road deaths suffered by motorcyclists can be said to contribute as a result of the authorities unwise decision.
Before we continue to investigate in more detail why motorcyclists in Malaysia sustain such a high rate of fatalities, as compared to other road users, it should be reiterated that as it is, motorcyclists are currently posing the authorities, namely the police, and the Road Transport Authorities, with a massive headache, which up to now the government has failed to overcome. The problem is none other that of “merempit motor” or “illegal motorcycle racing”.
Section 81 of the Road Traffic Ordinance (RTO) 1987, clearly spells out that “illegal motorcycle” racing is indeed a serious offence. Stern punishments such as a RM 2000 fine, withdraw of licenses and even confiscation of machines, have all failed to deter mat rempit enthusiast from participating in illegal races so far.
Amongst other things, what “wrongs” have motorcycle riders of Malaysia contravened?
Permit me to disclose to readers the “sins” that motorcyclists have thus committed so far:
1) Motorcyclists and their pillion riders fail to wear safety helmets. It is said that many of them have since died in accidents. The authorities say, a safety helmet costs only RM 50. There is no reason or excuse for motorcyclists and their pillion riders not to wear one and put their lives at risk.
2) Motorcyclists are also reported to be using “mobile phones” or “hand phones” whilst riding too.
3) Overtaking on the left, which is indeed very dangerous offence indeed.
4) Tail gating other motorists.
5) And of cause, “speeding”.
6) Motorcyclists are also very fond of making illegal “U” turns.
7) Failing to stop at “pedestrian” crossings.
8) Parking their machines at “fire hydrants” and “bus stops”.
9) “Hogging” the right lane.
10) The failure to produce their licenses for inspection when asked to do so by the authorities, that is the police and the Road Transport authorities.
With the latest announcement, the new regulations will be met by stern and high fines. Furthermore, many of the offences which are contravened by motorcyclists, will no longer be accorded discounts or rebates. Previously, motorcyclists were given discounts ranging from RM 70 – RM 100. This will no longer be the case when the new rules and regulations are implemented in the very near future.
The decision by the authorities to improve the maximum fine of RM 300 on errant motorcyclists, hopefully will go on to reduce the high rate of accidents and deaths amongst our motorcycle riding youths of our nation.
The authorities thus far has been too lenient in dealing with motorcyclists. It is about time some “serious” actions be taken against them! I applaud the government’s serious decision this time around!