M-cyclists caught between a rock and a hard place

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PETALING JAYA: Motorcyclists have the difficult task of choosing between getting mugged if they use the motorcycle lanes at night or getting fined by authorities if they don’t.

Several riders have complained that these motorcycle lanes are filled with more than just potholes as some have told FMT of their encounters with robbers while using these lanes at night.

“The incident happened some time ago along the motorcycle lane for the Kesas Highway near the tunnel around midnight.

“There were six to 10 boys, aged between 12 and 18, and they took my phone and a few ringgit,” said Ahmad Faisal, who is currently a Mass Communications lecturer at the Mara University of Technology .

Another motorcyclist also related his encounter while riding with a friend on the motorcycle lane at the Federal Highway.

“We were riding on the motorcycle lane at the Federal Highway at night when we realised that the two men on the motorcycle next to us were trying to kick our bike down.

“Luckily, we managed to escape. We had heard rumours of robbers on the motorcycle lanes at night but we also didn’t want to risk being fined by the police for not using them,” said Wan Ismadi Wan Mahmood, who works as a mechanic at Shah Alam.

Speaking to FMT, road safety consultant Karen Goonting said she too had heard of several incidents from her former colleagues while she was working with the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros).

“Several of the research assistants used to be motorcyclists and they would tell me that these muggings took place, especially where there were tunnels.

“The robbers would place items to block the lanes so that the riders would be forced to stop and then they would ambush you.”

She added that muggings weren’t the only issue as motorcycle lanes were notorious for being dangerous with overhanging branches, gratings placed the wrong way around, as well as floods during the rainy season.

“So they’re really caught between a rock and a hard place, especially if they’re bringing their wife or a girlfriend with them… you’re never going to get motorcyclists to use these motorcycle lanes.”

Motorcycle group Ikatan Silaturrahim Brotherhood head Azlan Sani Zawawi also confirmed that there were complaints about robbers waiting to jump on motorcyclists at night.

Others made police reports that there were syndicates that scattered nails on the road so that they could charge motorcyclists to change their tyres.

“We often patrol the motorcycle lanes to ensure that these syndicates aren’t successful as well as to help riders who have trouble and to prevent crime,” he told FMT.

He said there were complaints that tunnels were not lit up at night and that they had no proper drainage systems, causing the roads to be slippery with mud.

Persatuan Pengguna Islam Malaysia (PPIM) lead activist Nadzim Johan claimed that there wasn’t enough awareness on the dangers of using motorcycle lanes.

“This is a question of life and death and motorcyclists’ lives are no less important,” he told FMT.

It is a violation under the Transportation Act 1987 for motorcycles under 500cc to not use motorcycle lanes if one is provided.