WHILE the government deserves to be lauded for passing new laws providing for more severe penalty for drunk drivers involved in road accidents, the same priority is not accorded to motorcyclists.
Motorcyclists make up the most vulnerable category of road users when it comes to crashes, particularly fatal ones that have, year in and year out, claimed thousands of lives, mostly youths.
With drink-driving laws in force, which among other things entail a mandatory jail sentence for drunk drivers who cause deaths, the focus should now be on implementation of the basic infrastructure and eco-system that the Alliance for a Safe Community strongly believes will save thousands of lives among motorcyclists and pillion riders.
First and foremost, the alliance urges the government to implement, starting with the 12th Malaysia Plan due to kick off next year, segregated motorcycle lanes.
Such lanes are similar to the ones found in certain stretches of highways and roads in parts of the country, especially in some urban centres.
The best example of such life- saving lanes is along both flanks of the Federal Highway stretching from Petaling Jaya to Shah Alam and up to Klang.
The Federal Highway is one of the busiest, if not the busiest highways in the country, with traffic virtually round the clock.
However, according to statistics, an average of only two fatal crashes involving motorcycles are recorded annually.
As a second preventive step to save lives, a law must be enacted to reduce the speed limit for motorcycles.
Initially, to reduce the capital expenditure of building segregated lanes all over the country, we call on the relevant authorities like the Transport Ministry and police to confine motorcyclists to the left-most lanes of highways and roads.
Demarcation can be done with double lines.
This way, those on two-wheelers are barred from riding in the fast lanes and competing for space with the bigger vehicles, which is the main cause for the horrifically high death toll among motorcyclists and pillion riders.
This shall be the forerunner to the eventual implementation of full-fledged segregated lanes.
The alliance views these measures as highly doable, practical and above all, can be put in place without needing further research into its pros and cons.
It is pure common sense.
It is all the more imperative that the government implements this programme with the sharp increase in the number of motorcyclists on our roads with the growing popularity of food delivery services.
The number of fatalities among motorcyclists so far this year alone far outstrips those who died from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Although these measures are long overdue, resulting in an average of nearly 6,000 road deaths annually, they are better late than never.
TAN SRI LEE Lam Thye,
Alliance for a Safe Community
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