PETALING JAYA: Concerned that one in three deaths on the roads in Southeast Asia involves motorcyclists, the World Health Organization (WHO) has come out with a manual on how to deal with the situation.
In view of the rising death toll involving two- and three-wheeler users – making up 43% of all road traffic deaths – WHO wants countries in Southeast Asia to take urgent action.
According to WHO’s data, fatalities among motorcyclists in Thailand and Cambodia accounted for 73% and 74% of all road deaths in those countries in 2016.
As of August last year, for every 100 road deaths in Malaysia, 70 were motorcyclists. A total of 89,953 of them have died on Malaysia’s roads between 2001 and 2021.
“Nearly 30% of all road deaths in Southeast Asia involve powered two- and three-wheeled vehicles such as motorcycles, mopeds, scooters and electrical bikes (e-bikes), and the numbers are rising,” said WHO head of safety and mobility Nhan Tran.
The manual was launched in conjunction with the global regional road safety dialogue on motorcycle safety being held in Manila.
“The event aims to stimulate commitment and solutions to the road safety crisis with a focus on countries (where) motorcycles are the dominant mode of road transport,” he told FMT.
With Malaysia getting closer to replacing Thailand for having the world’s worst death rate for motorcycle users, WHO hoped policymakers and authorities would adopt the manual to save lives on the road.
Global data show the rate of road deaths per 100,000 population is highest in Southeast Asia and Africa.
Teenagers and adults aged 15 to 34 made up the most deaths going by age group, accounting for over 60% of all powered two- and three-wheeler related deaths in low- and middle-income countries.
Among the key risk factors, Nhan said, were failure to wear helmets, excessive speeding, alcohol consumption, bad traffic conditions, poor road surfaces and roadside hazards.
It is learnt that a delegation from the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros) is at the dialogue and sharing the research and findings on motorcycle crashes from Malaysia’s perspective.
The Miros team is also giving a series of demonstrations on the effectiveness of the anti-lock braking system for motorcycles.