KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 13 (Bernama) -- The Road Safety Department (JKJR) is studying a proposal to limit motorcyclists to the left lane especially small motorcycles to reduce the fatality rate among users of such vehicles.
JKJR director-general Datuk Rosli Isa said the department is now looking at the effectiveness of the measure and making comparison between developed countries such as Hong Kong and Australia which practise the use of the left lane for motorcycles to reduce fatal accidents among riders and passengers of small-engine motorcycles.
Based on 2018 statistics, more than 60 per cent 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 engine 150 cc and below to a maximum of 70 kilometre per hour (kmph) 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 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and motoring associations.
Earlier, a WhatsApp group known as Safety First in a meeting with Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook on Wednesday was reported to have raised the proposal to reduce the very high death rate among motorcycle riders and passengers of small motorcycle.
The group which has about 500 members is of the view that laws should be formulated soon to ban small motorcycles from using the middle and right lanes which are used by bigger vehicles for their own safety.
The practice of limiting motorcycles especially small-engine motorcycles of 150 cc and below to the left lane only had long been carried out in developed countries to reduce the risk of road accidents among motorcyclists and pillion riders.
In Malaysia, motorcycle riders and passengers put their lives at great risk when they ride in the middle or right lanes and expose themselves to be involved in accidents with bigger vehicles.
Echoing Rosli's views, the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS) chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said many small motorcycles in big towns were 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.