KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 9 — The Works Ministry is in favour of restricting motorcyclists to the left or slowest lane of roads and expressways as a new policy to curb the alarming statistics of deaths and injuries among these road users.
Works Minister Baru Bian said in an interview with the online news portal The Mole that the proposed policy would require motorcyclists to ride only on these lanes, especially during the morning and evening rush hours on weekdays.
“Statistics of road deaths and injuries during those peak hours of commuting to work and home involving motorcyclists and pillion riders have reached an alarming level over the past four years,” he said.
According to statistics, over 4,000 people die in motorcycle crashes yearly while thousands more are injured.
“I think we can apply certain provisions during those hours on working days, that bikers may be limited to ride only on the left-most side of the road. This is perhaps more feasible.
“I think any suggestion for the policy to be enforced round the clock is not suitable currently,” said Baru in response to a suggestion by road safety advocates Safety First Group for the government to enforce a blanket ruling on such a policy.
The minister, however, said the implementation of the proposed policy would not happen in the near future as the authorities still need to get feedback from the stakeholders.
The Safety First Group had also met Baru and Transport Minister Anthony Loke to push for the implementation of safer motorcycle culture in the country.
It has also been urging the government to impose a speed limit of 70 km/h on kapcai or low-powered motorcycles.
“For now, imposing such speed limit specifically for bikers is not likely. We need to conduct an in-depth study since this requires thorough observation over a long period, especially in the mixed traffic situation on highways and expressways as well as roads around townships, small towns and also in rural areas,” Baru said.
Safety First Group advisor Datuk Seri Azman Ujang described the favourable response to its proposal for left lane-only motorcycle riding as “most welcome news”.
“Despite the highly alarming number of people, especially among the young, killed in motorcycle crashes year in and year out, nothing much has been done to address this very serious issue,” he said.
Azman said the minister’s support on this is most reassuring as curbing the high statistics on these road deaths is not rocket science and is “very doable”.
He said that to begin with, motorcyclists themselves must always value their lives through defensive riding on the left lane and avoid weaving in and out of middle lanes and competing for space with cars and other heavier vehicles.
“The Safety First Group will intensify our public awareness efforts towards safer motorcycle-riding to save lives,” he added. — Bernama