Is motorbike safety the real reason for banning Dego?
The reason cited by Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai for banning Dego - motorcycle safety - is irresponsibly misleading, as he cannot prove Dego riders are more at risk that the average motorcyclist. Instead, the opposite is likely true. The minister must instead tackle the real problem with motorcycle safety, not play political double-standard games with Dego.
Motorcycle safety is indeed a safety concern and one that now Liow would have to admit he has failed to deal with in his tenure as minister. Let’s examine some of the facts regarding motorcycle accidents in Malaysia.
Thirty-five percent of motorcycle fatal accidents are related to the rider not wearing a helmet. Instead of hunting down Dego riders, the Road Transport Department (RTD) is better of addressing the high amount of motorcyclists not wearing helmets if its honest aim is to reduce accidents and fatalities. It is not only rural riders who don’t use helmets, this problem is also prevalent in urban areas.
The second fact that the minister must remember is that according to statistics by the Malaysia Institute for Road Safety Research (Miros), 66 percent of motorcycle accidents happens in the rural areas, despite the fact that majority of Malaysia live in urban areas. Once again, the minister is not placing the right effort in the noble goal to reduce motorcyclist accidents and fatalities.
The third fact, also obtained from Miros is that less than 20 percent of motorcyclist casualties are pillion (passengers), with over 80 percent of the casualties are the riders themselves. This also goes to show that Dego rides are not more at (in fact at lesser) risk from the average motorcycle ride.
The minister should be concerned about motorcyclist safety. And he should go after the real reasons, and apply real effort to achieve this.
RAJIV RISHYAKARAN is state assemblyperson for Bukit Gasing, Selangor.
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