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Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Putting the brakes on the ‘kapcai kids’


The days of youths racing on underbone machines and endangering lives could soon be over if police have their way. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: The days of youths riding a ‘kapcai’ may soon be over. Police have made a proposal to the Road Safety Council (MKJR) and transport ministry for a new licensing category for youths aged between 16 and 20 to only ride motorcycles below 70cc by 2025.

“A new law must be considered in the next five years for a new licence category specifically for teenagers in which they should only be riding small engine capacity or low-powered electric motorcycles,” said Bukit Aman Traffic Investigations and Enforcement chief assistant director Supt Bakri Zainal Abidin.

Currently, the minimum age requirement for a motorcycle licence is 16.

In an audio recording of the MKJR annual meeting held last year, Bakri said the proposal was necessary in view of the extremely high number of road crashes and death rate among teenagers riding “kapcai” or underbone motorbike up to 150 cc.

“Every year without fail, motorcyclists in the 16 to 20 age category record the most deaths for all vehicle types and there has been hardly any substantial reduction over the years,” Bakri said.

Citing the difficulties by police to curb the relentless “rempit” menace throughout the country, he described the “kapcai” models sold in the market “as a source of compelling destruction for the young generation, especially in suburban and rural areas.”

“It is a powerful machine to begin with. I give you the example of a popular model among youth, the 150cc ‘Y Suku’ (Yamaha Y15ZR) model. This “kapcai” is capable of reaching speeds of up to 160kph,” he told the AGM.

“From the many Ops conducted by traffic police nationwide, we found many types of “kapcai” are dangerous for the riders and other road users. And “Y Suku” is only one example,” he said, adding that speeding and reckless riding were top of the list for cause of crashes.

“If we can have this new category of licence holders, this can save a lot of lives. It would be beneficial for the nation if we could have a long-term policy to control the target group of 16 to 25-year-olds and set a new culture for them to ride only low-powered motorbikes,” Bakri said.

The proposal to phase out the underbone motorbike usage for teenagers has been in the works over the last 13 years.

In 2007, the then Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) president S M Mohamed Idris suggested that motorcyclists aged between 17 and 21 should only be allowed to use motorcycles of 70cc and below.

It was also mooted by a board member of the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros) at a motorcycle safety forum in Perlis in September last year.

Bakri pointed out that a “kapcai” was supposed to be a safe mode of transportation from Point A to Point B.

“Do we want a ‘racehorse’ for teenagers going to school or youth commuting to work and endangering other road users or do we want a ‘workhorse’?” asked Bakri to the audience at the road safety event.

In a document sighted by FMT, the motion by police is included in the minutes of the 60th MKJR AGM and it has been extended to the transport ministry to study the possible creation of a new B3 motorcycle category. - FMT

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