Having more motorbike lanes will reduce accidents, says UPM professor

SERDANG, Sept 29: Having more motorcycle lanes and improving their upkeep will reduce the risk faced by Malaysian motorcyclists, who record the highest number of road accidents every year.

Prof Dr Kulanthayan KC Mani of the Department of Community Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences UniversitI Putra Malaysia (UPM), said 545,588 accidents were recorded in 2022 and they involved 5,671 fatal accidents resulting in 6,080 deaths. Of this number, 4,101 were motorcyclists.

“We must remember that Malaysia was the first country in the world to introduce a motorcycle lane, but we never scaled it up. If the government can focus on having additional motorcycle lanes at places where there is high demand, we can reduce accidents.

“At the same time, we need to ensure that maintenance is always carried out on the existing motorcycle lanes to enable road users or those interested to use them,” he told reporters after delivering the inaugural lecture entitled Children Safety On The Road: Public Health Vaccines at UPM, here today.

Citing Sweden and Finland as countries with efficient road safety systems, he said Malaysia cannot run away from the fact that it has a large number of motorcycle users, adding that government interventions would be able to change road accident statistics.

Kulanthayan, who is also the founder and executive director of Safe Kids Malaysia, said road safety issues involving children must be seen from a public health perspective as a whole, because the group has six main limitations that require them to be accompanied by adults when on the road.

Among the limitations are the level of children’s vision, their ability to hear and estimate the distance of the vehicle and their difficulty to identify the movement of the vehicle.

He also emphasised on the importance of using road safety products such as child safety seats, children’s helmets (motorcycles and bicycles), dashboard cameras and children’s safety vests.

On average, over 6,000 fatal accidents were reported from 2010 to 2022 and of the number, nearly 1,000 deaths involved children.