In view of the rising number of teenagers involved in riding basikal lajak (illegally modified bicycle) and performing stunts on public roads, there has been a proposal for Malaysia to emulate other countries in introducing regulations for such activities to protect other road users.
In fact, according to road safety specialist Professor Law Teik Hua, the proposal is actually one of the best solutions to ensure the safety of all road users, including those on bicycles.
What's more, Malaysia has yet to have any laws or regulations regarding the use of bicycles on roads.
However, he said the regulations should not only focus on the activities of some reckless teen riders of basikal lajak but should involve all bicycle users in the country.
For Law, no matter how the cyclists adhere to the prescribed safety procedures, they are still exposed to the risks of riding on roads.
The basikal lajak activities captured public attention after several accidents involving the riders made headlines over the past couple of years.
In February 2017, eight young basikal lajak riders were killed after being rammed by a car in Johor Bahru. Less than a year later, two teenagers were also knocked dead by a car while riding basikal lajak in Pontian.
Subang Member of Parliament Wong Chen, in supporting the proposal said the regulations should focus on certain areas, including to have a special lane for bicycles on public roads, using of safety helmet, clear specifications and requirements for bicycles to be used on roads, and the protection for other road users.
He said Malaysia could study the law used in the United Kingdom (UK), for example, in drafting the new law or amending any relevant ones for that purpose.
Citing an online report by UK’s Bristol Post dated Nov 20, 2018, he said UK has its own bicycle-related law which provides a maximum fine of £1,000 (RM5,300) for anyone convicted of riding the bicycle recklessly, while in Canada, those who failed to comply with the instructions for installing lights, reflector and light reflector tape will be subject to a maximum fine of US$20 (RM62).
However, Wong said while waiting for the proposal to be accepted and the law to be formulated, enforcement of the existing relevant laws should be tightened and constantly conducted by the police or the local authorities.
In fact, bicycle shops and workshop involved in illegal bicycle-modification activities should be given stern warnings by the police or local authorities.
“Any illegally modified bicycles found in their premises should also be confiscated,” he said.
Meanwhile, president of Jasin Bikers Association Hairool Hisham Roslan also lauded the proposal to have a law to regulate the cycling activities, especially on public roads.
“Even when we organise a cycling activity, those with a bicycle which does not comply with our safety standards, like not wearing a helmet or having a faulty brake, will not be allowed to participate. Safety first. That’s important,” he explained.
He said the proposed regulations were not meant to ‘kill’ the teenagers’ passion in cycling, but to ensure that they would do it using the right method and medium so as to ensure the safety of other road users.