Saturday, 14 February 2009

Motorcyclists who value their life so cheaply

Last Sunday I read a news report in Berita Harian about a fatal accident involving a motorcycle and a lorry at Felda Bukit Aping Timur in Kota Tinggi, Johor. The motorcyclist, a 14-year old boy named Muhamad Azhari Hazrin was killed on his way to badminton practice at school.

Part of the newspaper report is reproduced below :

Pelajar maut nahas jalan raya

KOTA TINGGI: Kegembiraan seorang pelajar kerana terpilih mengikuti latihan sukan badminton bagi mewakili sekolahnya, berakhir dengan tragedi apabila terbabit dalam kemalangan di Kilometer 36, Jalan Lok Heng - Mawai, dekat sini, pagi semalam.

Muhamad Azhari Hazrin, 14, dari Blok 10, Felda Bukit Aping Timur, dikatakan dalam perjalanan ke sekolah dengan menunggang motosikal bagi mengikuti latihan sukan badminton di sekolahnya di Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Sri Aman, Felda Bukit Aping Barat, di sini.

Bagaimanapun, dalam kejadian kira-kira jam 8 pagi itu, mangsa yang menunggang motosikal sendirian dilanggar sebuah lori yang datang dari arah Mawai sebaik keluar simpang berhampiran Felda Bukit Aping Timur menyebabkan mangsa yang cedera parah meninggal dunia sebaik tiba di Hospital Kota Tinggi (HKT), di sini.

Ibunya, Aviah Mustafa, 37, berkata beliau tidak menyangka kegembiraan yang jelas terpancar di wajah anaknya sejak kelmarin berakhir dengan kemalangan.

The full article can be read at Berita Harian Online -> here.

The report included some comments from the victim's mother. But what it failed to question was how a 14-year old kid can be riding a motorbike on public roads when the legal age of owning a motorbike license is 16-years old. It would have been advantageous if the newspaper had highlighted this fact so that some parents can realise the risk that they take in allowing their underaged children to ride motocycles.

As it is, the mother has lost her only child needlessly. No amount of crying or regret is going to bring the child back. The parent is to blame as much as the son.

There are many such irresponsible parents up and down the country. They do not think twice in letting their young children ride motorcycles without license, insurance cover and even without wearing crash helmets.

My house is within a kampung area of Johor Bahru city and everyday I see so many kids riding bikes without wearing helmets. A few months back, I witnessed two teenage girls whose motorbike crashed into a car. They were not wearing helmets and I dare to presume that the rider does not have a license too. They flout the law simply because the act is seemed to be acceptable. They believe that since so many people are doing it, so why can't they. Such attitude is part of what's holding back Malaysia in the so-called `Third World' mentality.

I have many other gripes against motorcyclists. I know it is not appropriate to generalise but I have seen too many of such lax attitude to conclude that many motorcyclists value their life so cheaply. The following are some examples of such risky behaviour :

1. Crossing the red traffic lights just because there are no vehicles coming from the other side.
2. Using the edge of the road or sometimes the pedestrian footpath to ride against traffic flow.
3. Mothers riding pillion while carrying babies in their arms. In some cases, you can see one toddler squeezed between two adults. In extreme cases, there is an additional child riding in the front basket! More often than not, the adults wear crash helmets but the kids are helmetless.
4. Riding at night without tailights. Worse still, some ride on without headlights as well!

Tell me you have not seen some, if not all, of the examples I have mentioned above. And we all also know of this unique Malaysian phenomenon called `Mat Rempit'.

Our government has spent so much on Road Safety campaigns but fatal accident statistics continue to rise. Today's The Star Online reported on one such campaign -> here. Maybe it is time for the authorities to change their approach. The soft coaxing style does not seem to be working. Strict enforcement is probably the way to do it. Otherwise, the `tidak apa' attitude will continue to adopted till eternity.

One day, there will be a newspaper headline which tells of a gruesome motorcycle accident that killed two adults, a toddler and a baby. Perhaps then, our society will take this matter seriously.

10 comments:

Kak Teh said...

Oldstock, as you had mentioned, what makes me so angry is irresponsible parents who take tkeir children on the bikes with them. They wear helmets but these helpless and vulnerable babies do not and they could easily be thrown off the motorbikes.

How many deaths need to happen before they realise that its dangerous?

mamasita said...

Hai Oldstock.
Whatever you've written is all so true.

However, casting aside the Mat Rempits and those who purposely flout the law, there are also many cases where they have no other choices.
For eg..the boy had to ride the motorcycle to school for extra practice because there was no one to send him?
One sometimes notice a whole family precariously riding on a motorcycle because they cant afford a car or van.
p.s.
Dapat dah CD Christina Aguilera from the 'boss'? Hehe

Jarod said...

Well, much of Malaysians life style have not change. Especially the one you stated: Tidak Apa Attitude.

More over, the authority do not impose higher penalty for offender. So, most of them do not care a damn.

Some of them was not educated on the danger of riding without helmet. Some are pretty ignorant.

It is either the Government really care for the people or the people do not care for them self when they have an ignorant Gov.

Anonymous said...

You should come to Port Klg, here they would WAIT until the opposite car is moving before they zoom pass! Basically they wanted to commit suicide!
What would you do??
Sometimes, you feel like 'solving' the problem for them!! instead of leaving them handicapped!! Numb Skulls!!

hanitha said...

salam bro n semua..
i lost my brother in 1987 due to a motocycle accident. it was not his fault but due to the car driver tried to overtake another car but failed. the car hit my late brother and he died on the sideway. the driver do not have a licensed and the car was registered under someone else. so, mmg tkde aper punyer attitude dh berlaku way back then.
tk pernah belajar dpd pengalaman. dh kena kat diri sendrik baru insaf kot. tp dh trlambat. semoga adik saya tenang di sana. amin

Oldstock said...

Salam Kak Teh,

Sometimes I shudder when I see a mother holding her baby in her arms while riding pillion on a motorcycle. It doesn't take much to cause a disaster. Just a slight nudge from another vehicle and the baby could be flung away.

Oldstock said...

Hai mamasita,

Your point is noted. I have thought about this aspect of necessity before I penned down the post. While I admit that not everyone can afford a car to travel around, those who use motorbikes should be highly aware of the greater risks they are taking. Mostly it boils down to a balance of choices.

In the case of the boy who rode the motorbike to badminton practice, the father or mother should have sent him instead of allowing the boy to ride on his own. It is debatable whether the accident could have been avoided if an adult was riding the bike but as it is, the parents took a risk, knowingly or otherwise, in allowing their son to ride on his own.

Similarly, in the case of overloading (3 or more persons on one bike), they know the risks they are taking. If an accident does happen and lives are lost, it would be pointless to fall back on the justification of necessity.

On the other query about the Aguilera CD.... my Minister of Home Affairs is not the musically inclined type. So, takde ler hadiah ape2, heheheh. I've only noticed her buy a Siti Nurhaliza cassette once... itu pun untuk dengar dlm kereta dia :-)

Oldstock said...

Jarod,

There are many things in our country that need change and this change of attitude towards personal safety is one of the most difficult things to do. But I do hope, sooner or later, our society will come to its senses.

Oldstock said...

Anon 23:52,

I can imagine the situation you have described... I've been to Port Klang area before and the traffic there is horrendous. Stay cool, my friend.

Oldstock said...

Hanitha,

Sorry to read about the fate that befall your brother. Yes, you are right... there are irresponsible motorists too. My prayers for your brother.