The Road Safety Department is studying a proposal to limit motorcyclists, especially those on small motorcycles, to the left lane to reduce fatality rates.
Department director-general Rosli Isa said the department is now looking at the effectiveness of the measure, and making comparisons between developed countries such as Hong Kong and Australia, which practise the use of the left lane for motorcycles to reduce the number of fatal accidents.
Based on 2018 statistics, more than 60 percent of the 6,742 accident death cases involved motorcycle riders and passengers, he said.
"We are also looking at the need to limit the speed of motorcycles with engines 150cc and below to a maximum of 70kmph, because based on past studies, the primary factor of fatal accidents among motorcyclists is speeding,” he said when contacted by Bernama.
Rosli said the department had held initial discussions on the matter with several NGOs and motoring associations.
The group Safety First raised the proposal in a meeting with Transport Minister Anthony Loke on Wednesday to bring down the death rate among motorcycle riders.
Safety First, which has about 500 members, said that laws should be formulated soon to ban small motorcycles from using the middle and right lanes for their own safety.
Echoing Rosli's views, the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros) chairperson Lee Lam Thye said many small motorcycles in big towns are often seen weaving in between vehicles, especially during peak hours.
“On roads where there are no dedicated lanes for motorcycles, small motorcycle riders will use the middle and right lanes meant for bigger and faster vehicles.
“The time has come for the right and middle lanes to be off-limits to motorcycles, as the risk of fatality is too high for motorcyclists,” he said.
Lee said he was worried if the habit of using the middle and right lanes continued and was not viewed seriously, the fatality rate among motorcyclists would continue to rise.