CAP demands answers on high incidents of motorcycle fatalities in Malaysia

“People tend to break the law when they know they can likely get away with their act or pay a light penalty”

(NST) – Following reports that deaths involving motorcyclists here may overtake Thailand, the Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) has since demanded an explanation over the matter.

Its president, Mohideen Abdul Kader questioned why fatalities involving motorcyclists kept rising despite all the research and efforts to curb accidents.

He said in 2013 the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros) highlighted that Malaysia had the fifth highest accident fatalities involving motorcyclists in the world.

He added that based on a decade of accident statistics, the percentage of such fatalities had never dipped below 58 per cent of road fatalities despite studies and efforts to lower the statistics.

In 2020, it reached an astounding 67.29 per cent.

“The number of registered motorcycle owners is almost half the total number of all registered vehicles and this increases the chances of an accident.

“In a 2016 study conducted by Miros, it showed that motorcyclists aged between 16 and 25 years-old had the highest number of fatalities, serious and minor injuries.

“These are the reported cases, the actual number of accidents may never be known as many minor ones were not reported,” he said today.

Mohideen said in a Miros study on 921 students from 32 secondary schools, researchers found that 62.4 per cent of students rode a motorcycle without a license.

He said as many as 89.8 per cent of them admitted they had learned to ride a motorcycle without a license as young as 12 years-old.

He added that out of the 575 students who rode a motorcycle without a license, 88.2 per cent of them had never been summoned.

Mohideen said the survey also showed that 62.6 per cent of the students’ parents did not stop or forbid their children from riding a motorcycle without a license.

“The government should consider allowing school-going student motorcyclists to ride only mopeds which are small motorcycles that can only go between 42 and 45km per hour.

“Restricting youths to mopeds will keep them from the enticement to speed because speed not only thrills but kills,” he added.

Mohideen said the other outcome of the study showed that the students’ parents adopted a lackadaisical attitude towards their children’s safety and welfare.

“Law enforcers are also abetting the violation of the law by not performing their duty diligently.

“If the law is not enforced, then it serves no purpose to impose a minimum age for riding a motorcycle,” he said.

Miros, Mohideen said, also noted that most of the motorcyclists turned out to major roads from intersections less than four seconds from the oncoming vehicles, resulting in serious accidents and they were poor in using their indicators to alert other motorists of their intention to turn.

These motorcycle accident victims, he added, had been identified as teenagers.

He noted that while potholes, poor road designs, and bad road conditions were also to be blamed, the human factor could not be easily eliminated and this had to be addressed by strict enforcement of the law.

“The study found that most of the accidents involving motorcycles were the result of careless riding, speeding, traffic light violations and dangerous turning.

“We like to ask the authorities how many motorcycle licenses have been suspended since the implementation of the demerit points system for traffic offences (Kejara) in 2017.

“We urge the government to heavily penalise motorists who flout traffic regulations.

“People tend to break the law when they know they can likely get away with their act or pay a light penalty,” he said.

Mohideen said it was discovered that there was a downward trend of people violating red lights during the first year of installation of the Automated Enforcement System (AES) to catch red light offenders.

He, however, said the number of offenders went up in the subsequent years.

“It has become a mockery of the law when the government makes seasonal offers of hefty discounts when a person pays his traffic fines.

Why can’t the government blacklist defaulters and prevent them from renewing their license or road tax if a person has outstanding fines?” he asked.