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Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Children riding motorcycles in housing estates

The Star Metro, Tuesday February 8, 2011

Children riding motorcycles in housing estates


ON her way home after a long tiring day recently, T. Vijaya, 50, noticed several children on motorcycles in front of her.

She tries to steer clear and drives slowly forward when suddenly a youngster crashed his motorcycle. Shocked, she slammed her brakes and winds down her window to reprimand the children. Unperturbed, the children stick out their tongue and ride away laughing.

This is one of the many incidents that has left Vijaya wary of youngsters. She has had several near misses with children on motorcycles near her housing area in Taman Datuk Senu in Sentul.

"The children zoom in and out, avoiding the cars in front of them. It is scary to see them whiz past,” she said.

According to her, the children in her neighbourhood come out especially in the evenings to go to the playground near her home.

Young and errant: ABOVE: A youngster riding a motorcycle without a helmet on a busy road.

A resident from Setapak , Ai Leng, 32, said they were a menace to society with complete disregard for rules and other motorists.

"They do not have licences and are dangerous. They squeeze in between vehicles, weaving in and out of the traffic,” she added.

Yee Lai Lin, from Medan Idaman Gombak, said the children probably picked up the bad habits from their parents.

“Parents who send their children to school rarely use helmets and children pick up the bad habits easily. Parents should be responsible for their children’s behaviour,” she added.

Kamal Salleh, 34, from Kerinchi said it was scary to see the children going against the traffic flow, endangering the lives of pedestrians.

ABOVE: More youngsters without helmets riding motorcycles along the NPE highway near Lembah Pantai, Kuala Lumpur.

Under Section 39 (1), Road Transport Act 1987, those less than 16 years old are not allowed to drive any vehicle on the road.

Road Safety Department (RSD) director-general Datuk Suret Singh said according to a Miros research in 2010, those aged between 16 and 25 years represent the highest number of fatalities, totalling 1,813 deaths or 27% of total road deaths in 2009.

“From our observation, this problem occurs both in rural and urban housing areas. The problem is especially serious in rural areas,” he said in an e-mail interview.

“Parents should be held responsible for underaged children riding motorcycles. Under Section 26 (1) or Section 109, RTA 1987, action can be taken against the owner for allowing an unlicensed individual to ride the motorcycle,” added Suret Singh.

Children riding motorcycles belong to two categories — those aged below 16 years and not eligible to apply for a riding licence, as well as those aged above 16 years who are eligible but do not have a licence.

For those who are underaged, Road Transport Department (RTD) and the police will take action against the motorcycle owner who are usually the parents or elder siblings. For the latter category, action is taken against the riders for riding without a licence.

Action taken includes seizure of the motorcycles. Since January, RTD and the police have stepped up enforcement against unlicensed and underaged riders in support of RSD’s efforts to cultivate “safety first” culture among road users.

Suret Singh urged parents to be strict with children on matters concerning road safety.

“Compromising on safety is a misplaced act of love and affection. The result is our children are put at risk of road accidents and injury,” he added.

For now the RSD is focusing on the target group aged between 16 and 25 in rural areas and are taking a holistic approach in tackling the problem through advocacy and enforcement conducted simultaneously

End of article.  SOURCE: STAR METRO:
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