Every single year we see more and more cars joining the ever growing list of vehicles on the road. Students graduate and get their driving licenses and as the economy gains some slight advantage, we see more and more parents buying cars for their children, not to spoil them but rather out of necessity especially if they can afford it. Because we all know how reliable public transport can be.
I believe that this trend is going to continue on and it will reach a point until our roads are completely packed up. Of course not everyone gets a car, some folks may decide to swap over to a motorbike instead and that is definitely a good alternative especially if you are only travelling within the city center as both toll and parking charges are greatly reduced.
Now theoretically that would be the case but because of the ever rampant term called “lesen kopi” (licenses obtained via bribing), accident rates are extremely high especially when it comes to motorbikes. Could it be that the motorcyclists themselves are a danger or other drivers are also oblivious to the fact that they are never aware of their surrounding.
I believe the threat comes from both the motorcyclists and the drivers. So why am I ranting about this? Honestly I have a lot of pet peeves when it comes to bikers, first of all the “mat rempits” or menace on two wheels. Every Sunday night they not only race along Jalan Sultan Ismail but also create noise pollution with their intense exhaust notes. Also they need to tone down on their superb maneuvering along traffic with so little disregard to their own lives. Another point to note, I tend to take a shortcut through the “kampung” roads and everytime I do not fail to see a young kid, wearing a primary school uniform riding a motorbike without a helmet.
Now I faced an incident a couple of weeks ago on the LDP highway. The highway was jammed up as usual and cars are backed up for miles. It was already late in the evening, so it was dark and to top it off, it was raining. Cars were literally stuck bumper to bumper and trying to change lanes was an incredibly slow affair. Now here we have superbikers who would still ride way above the speed limit between the cars amidst the traffic jam because they manage to squeeze through in between the cars. Because the cars are moving at such as a slow rate, that also means that if they need to change lanes, it would take them some time.
I spotted a car attempting to change lanes and the first mistake the driver made was not indicating the change (lack of use of their signal lights) and because the car was on a long sweeping section of the LDP, it would be near impossible for the driver to spot a speeding super bike traveling from the rear. Of course the biker was skilled enough to avoid and the driver also noticed it at the last minute but then I had to see the biker slow down in front of the car and start showing the middle finger at the driver and then screaming profanities at the driver. Honestly, it is bikers like this who give other bikers a bad image and name. Then again, there are many car drivers who probably disregard common sense and all safety rules of the road as well.
As social media now is fired up with plenty of incidences around the world especially with wars going on and deaths being shared around, we tend to forget what is happening in our own roads, literally. Since 1995 to 2012, there are a total number of 121,848 road deaths here in Malaysia (statistics available on MIROS). That makes it around 6269 deaths per year. It is truly sad that there are so much death that occurs here in our own backyard and we don’t have the same passion burning through our eyes or on our social media pages.
We need to band together as a nation to reduce the number of accidents and be a lot more aware about safety, not just in how we drive or ride a motorbike but we need to have that same civic consciousness to report incidents to the relevant authorities, make enough noise to our MP’s to make road safety a large enough issue that the stem of the problem has enough coverage not just in parliament meetings but in schools and in colleges as well.
*This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Autofreaks.com