Ed. Note: While Motorcycle Safety News is about American rider safety issues, this story shows that while the U.S. is considered dead last in motorcycle safety among developed nations, a worse perspective still comes in stark contrast from third world regions.

By TAN SIN CHOW
The Star Online

GEORGE TOWN, Malaysia: An average of 17 people are killed daily in road accidents in the country of just 27 million inhabitants, said Road Safety Department director-general Datuk Suret Singh.

He said another 20 to 30 people become handicapped daily after falling victim to road accidents.

Suret Singh said about 70 percent of those killed or became handicapped in road accidents were motorcyclists who did not abide by traffic rules.

He said motorcyclists, especially those riding “kapchai” (motorcycles below 125cc), were vulnerable because of their reckless behavior on the roads.

“Many of them do not wear Sirim-approved helmets or do not buckle them properly.

“Many of the reported deaths in road accidents succumbed to serious head injuries.

“We can only advise them to be more careful but it’s up to road users to plan their journey and obey the traffic rules on the road,” he said before the launch of the Road Safety Advocacy Campaign in Gurney Drive here on Saturday. More than 60 Sirim helmets were distributed to motorcyclists during the campaign.

Suret Singh said motorcyclists traveling at 60 kph (37 mph) and above were especially vulnerable to serious accidents during collision.

“Motorcyclists, especially those riding a kapchai, must travel at a lower speed. Besides, kapchai riders must have their own space on the road as protection,” he said.

Before the campaign launch, he had met with representatives of the Northern Zone motorcycles dealers association, Malaysian Motorcycle Assemblers and Malaysia Motorcycle Dealers’ Association to find out ways to enhance road safety measures.

He said the representatives were frontliners who could help the department in disseminating basic road safety messages to the motorcyclists.

“All these shop dealers and accessories shop owners have been told not to sell sub-standard items, such as helmets or seat belts. All these items must be Sirim-approved,” he said.

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