I once had a classmate, Gurdip Singh, alias Ignatius Dev Anand. We were then schooling at my alma mater, the Anglo Chinese School, Klang.
Gurdip, was unfortunately born, crippled. He had one good leg, while, his right leg was slightly smaller than his left. Inspite of his condition, Gurdip could walk on his own. Surprisingly, he could even cycle.
Gurdip even joined our classmates on our cycling trip to Morib, way back in the 1960’s. Morib for readers’ information, is approximately some 28 or so miles, from Klang.
Due to his physical condition, Gurdip Singh struggled to walk around and climbed steps at our school. I believe, his condition affected his health eventually. It took a toll on him. Unfortunately, he was not to live long. He passed away at a rather young age.
I believe my classmate might have lived longer, if only electric bicycles were introduced way back in the 1960’s. Gurdip Singh, who was from a rather poor family, could not have afforded to test for a B2 (250c.c.) motorcycle license then.
Furthermore, as a crippled person, an OKU (orang kurang berupaya) or a handicapped person, it is doubted very much if the authorities, that is the Road Transport Department, would have permitted him to get a motorcycle riding license.
But, believe it or not, electric bicycles, which has currently been introduced for use in our country today, has indeed been a blessing in disguise to many people who are handicapped in some way or other.
You see, some may have been born crippled, like my classmate, Gurdip Singh. But one must not forget, there are others in Malaysia, who were not born so. They have become handicapped by virtue of the fact that they have sustained physical injuries in accidents and also industrial mishaps.
I know of a friend, about 50 years old or so, a Chinese man. I do not know his name. What important is the fact that the above person, possesses only one leg.
I used to observe this man, cycling around the town where I live. On his bicycle, he carries two rattan crutches on the handle bars. I’m sure you must be aware that doing the above antics while cycling furiously away with one leg, is indeed no mean task.
Besides, it is indeed a pitiful sight, wouldn’t you agree? May be, the above mentioned person, whose name I don’t know, could not afford to purchase a three wheeled motor, usually used by most handicapped people.
Or may be, the person above, was ignorant of the ways and means a handicapped person could obtain a motorcycle riding license. But fortunately, for my handicapped friend, the introduction of the electric bicycle recently into Malaysia, had infact benefitted him very tremendously.
Why should this be so, you might well ask?
Well, the Malaysian government has yet to make a decision with regards to the use of the electric bicycles here in Malaysia.
Do users have to undergo a test? Must users need to use helmets like other motorcycle riders? Are insurance coverage required? These are some of the questions still left unanswered.
Finally, will the electric motor bicycle even be banned eventually in this country? Nobody knows!
Whatever the decision maybe, regarding the use of electric bicycles, one thing is for certain, many people, I observe, are currently secretly using the electric bicycles in kampungs and housing estates.
Electric bicycles, as a matter of fact, are quite affordable, compared to motorcycles. In my opinion, should not cost more than RM1500.
Electric bicycles are easy to handle. They can travel up to approximately 25 to 30 km/h. and the best thing of all, presently, you do not require a license to use it. As a matter of fact, it’s a boon for pensioners and older folks. It’s also cheap to maintain too.
I feel the authorities should take a positive approach towards it. They should not ban its use in Malaysia. I think the electric bicycles brings more good than bad to the people of our country, especially the maimed and the handicapped.
Allow me to quote you an interesting episode regarding the use of the electric bicycle which befelled me recently.
While negotiating a corner recently, a user of an electric bicycle nearby collided into me. It’s was not my fault actually. As an instructor, of many years of experience, I make it a point not to cross into people’s lane, especially when taking corners. It’s infact dangerous driving, don’t you think so?
But before I could hurl a string of curses at the electric bicycle rider was infact my one legged, handicapped friend whom I described to you earlier on!
Having for years been riding an ordinary bicycle and without a doubt, struggling along with it, my one legged friend must have found using his new electric bicycle a breeze. And so, without a doubt, he was travelling around these days in I t at great speed.
When the friend in question saw me, he recognized me immediately. He smiled and even waved tome frantically. He must have hollered: How are you? My one legged friend seemed extremely happy.
My initial anger turned to joy. Never have I seen him happier! The electric bicycle, had finally brought my handicapped friend, great happiness good for him.
If the government should finally decide to ban the use of electric bicycles in Malaysia, it would, I believe, cause a lot of difficulties and miseries to a whole lot of people. The authorities should infact be more caring with regards to folks who might be suffering silently.
Think about this carefully. Hopefully the authorities will not make a wrong mistake eventually. Kudos to the electric bicycle!