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Thursday, October 14, 2021

Make motorcycle lanes a ‘must’ when new roads are built, says expert

 

Motorcycle lanes and protective clothing have been suggested by road safety experts to cut down the number of fatalities among bikers.

PETALING JAYA: There is a need for a law to make it compulsory to build a motorcycle lane whenever a new road is constructed, according to a road safety expert.

Law Teik Hua of Universiti Putra Malaysia’s Road Safety Research Centre said this would help reduce road crashes involving motorcycles.

He said adding motorcycle lanes along existing roads could be difficult as there would be a need to retrofit these roads, which costs a lot of money.

“Therefore, a law should be drafted to ensure that when roads are built, motorcycle lanes will also be built,” he said, adding that a motorcycle lane would help reduce deaths by 30% to 40%.

Law Teik Hua.

It was recently reported that Malaysia was edging closer to replacing Thailand as the country with the world’s worst death rate involving motorcyclists. This year, seven out of 10 people who died on the road in Malaysia were motorcycle users.

Official figures by Bukit Aman’s traffic department show that motorcycle users accounted for 70.2% of the nationwide fatalities of 2,954 (all types of vehicles) from January to August.

In Thailand, according to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) 2018 Global Status Report on Road Safety, two-wheeler and three-wheeler users accounted for 74% of the overall estimated 22,491 casualties.

Law said motorcycle safety had always been a problem in Malaysia as motorcycle accidents often happened on highways where motorcyclists would use the emergency lane, assuming it was a lane for them.

“There are quite a number of road accidents involving motorcyclists who use the emergency lane on highways. Emergency lanes are only to be used for emergency purposes.

“The government should not close its eyes and think that this is not a big issue,” he said.

He said the government should also focus on improving public transportation as a long-term solution.

Transport planning consultant Rosli Azad Khan said protective clothing such as those designed and made for big bikers should be made compulsory for motorcyclists.

Rosli Azad Khan.

Rosli said this would further protect riders against injury as there were no safety features except helmets at present.

He said motorcyclists tend to take more risks by riding fast between vehicles and road lanes, and overtaking in places where they are not supposed to, normally on the left – the blindside – of other vehicles.

He suggested that small powered motorcycles, those which were 250CC and below, should stay off the highways.

“Small motorcycles will suffer from air drift from faster vehicles, especially coaches, vans and lorries, on highways,” he said, adding that such accidents at high speed on highways were normally fatal to motorcyclists. - FMT

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