Don’t just ban them, give them the space to ride safely

YOUTH involved in “basikal lajak” (bicycles dangerously modified for street racing) should be provided suitable space and facilities to express their passion in a safe environment. This is something natural. Trying to ban such activities will not be successful and they will simply reappear elsewhere later on.

We cannot blame the kids for their activities, nor classify their activities as mere escapism. No doubt the majority of the children involved in such activities come from B40 (lower income group) families or broken homes. The children are the victims of what we have deprived them of.

Most people blame the mat lajak kids for being indisciplined. This can actually be traced back to the kind of education system we have today. Discipline has to be fostered from a very young age until the children become adults.

They carry everything they have acquired at school and at home into their adulthood and into the outside world.

Today the police have difficulty enforcing the laws because enforcement has been weak all along and because of our complacency in disciplining our children in the past.

So parents have to be responsible for their kids and be aware of what their kids are up to all the time.

The authorities have to provide education in parenting for young parents who might be at a loss especially when both parents are struggling to put food on the table. The authorities have to be strict with parents and enforce the laws accordingly.

Our authorities have been investing heavily on motorising and providing infrastructure for private vehicles without much consideration for public transport and other modes of transport. The infrastructure eats into space that otherwise could be developed into parks for people of all ages. Youth can also be provided space there to carry out their cycling activities on tracks or velodromes.

Those engaging in cycling activities should be given training in safety awareness, including the type of safety gear they should wear to protect themselves from injuries.

Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) calls on the authorities to take the following steps:

1) Ban basikal lajak activities on public roads and provide the necessary space and facilities for youth to carry out their activities with necessary guidance and training;

2) Parents have to be taken to task for negligence in caring for their kids and the laws have to be applied appropriately;

3) Invest wisely in our education system for the long term.

MOHIDEEN ABDUL KADER , President, Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP)

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