PETALING JAYA: The onus is on parents to make sure that their children ride their bicycles safely and responsibly, says the Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF).
Speaking to FMT, its vice-president Amarjit Singh Gill said today’s tragic incident which saw eight cyclists killed in an accident in Johor Bahru shouldn’t have happened.
Earlier today, it was reported that a car rammed into a group of 16 schoolboys who were cycling along Jalan Lingkaran Dalam in Johor Bahru, killing six on the spot. Another two died on the way to the Hospital Sultanah Aminah in the state.
“What were the boys doing in the middle of the road at 3am? They shouldn’t have been there.”
Amarjit said there were many weekly cycling progammes around the country such as cycling jamborees, the Junior Cycling Malaysia programme and also Car Free days conducted by some local councils.
“This is where kids should be cycling because these programmes have safety and security controls like marshals, so you don’t have to worry about cars.”
Naturally, he said, people couldn’t expect children to know about such programmes but this was where their parents needed to make the effort.
“If your child takes an interest in a certain sport or activity, as a parent, it is your duty to find out more about that activity on top of ensuring the safety of your child.
“You have to look for safe places for your child to carry out the activities and make sure they are doing so safely.”
He said this was not only about where and when the child went out to cycle, but the safety of the bicycles themselves.
Earlier today, Johor Bahru Selatan police revealed that the bicycles used by the victims of the accident were modified for joyrides.
Amarjit said that modified bicycles were very unsafe, especially for the person riding them and parents must ensure the bicycles their children used met safety specifications.
Meanwhile, former MNCF deputy president Naim Mohamad said cycling groups which cycled on highways must abide by road safety laws and have security controls like escort vehicles or marshals on motorcycles.
“Organisers of cycling activities which involve many people must get the cooperation of the police and approval of the local council,” he said in a statement.
He added that the bicycles should also have a white light in the front and a flickering red light, while cyclists should wear helmets.
He also advised road users to be extra cautious as many cycling enthusiast had to share the roads with motorists.
It was previously reported that the police have said the victims of today’s accident were all part of a group of 30 to 40 teenagers, aged 13 to 17 years, who were out cycling.
It was believed that the boys were blocking some roads before being mowed down by the car in Jalan Lingkaran Dalam.
The police have said that the 22-year-old driver of the car which rammed into the boys was not drunk or speeding.