Motorcycles

Published on March 5th, 2021 | by Amirul Mukminin

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Not Wearing Helmets Is A More Serious Problem Than Noisy Exhausts

Instead of pushing hard for overly loud pipes, the authorities should be focusing on riders who don’t wear their helmets

You might have already seen the photo above, which shows three secondary school students (assumed to be Form 5 students celebrating the end of the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia examination) on their motorcycles.

In the photo, one of the students is not wearing his helmet. Some of you might be appalled by this sight but unfortunately, it is one that is very common in this country, especially in the middle- and low-income neighbourhoods. Why does this keep happening? Don’t these kids know how dangerous it is to ride a bike without a helmet?

You really don’t need to be a rocket scientist to understand why putting on a helmet is paramount. It is the single most important equipment that every motorcyclist should have as it is designed to protect the head in the event of a collision. Without it, riders are more susceptible to head injuries that could lead to death or disability.

Despite numerous safety campaigns run by government agencies and private companies, it is fair to say that not much progress has been achieved as we keep seeing motorcyclists, especially teenagers, disregarding the law. Time has shown that crackdowns might be more effective to deter these traffic offenders but right now the Malaysian police and the Road Transport Department (JPJ) are on a nationwide hunt for noisy exhausts instead.

Yes, excessively loud exhausts are irritating and the offenders should be punished but why go all out for something that is not even life-threatening? What’s more baffling is that the punishment for illegal exhaust modifications that lead to noise pollution (RM2,000 maximum or six months jail) is heavier than for riding without helmets (RM1,000 maximum or three months jail).

In our view, there are more serious traffic offences being committed daily and teen motorcyclists not wearing helmets is one of them. This is a long-standing problem that needs be addressed as soon as possible as it involves life and death.

Studies have shown that Malaysia has the highest road fatality risk (per 100,000 population) among the ASEAN countries and more than 50% of the road accident fatalities involve motorcyclists. The way we see it, the number of casualties will continue to increase if nothing is done quickly.

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