PETALING JAYA: Road safety experts have called for a focus on road safety and better driving lessons instead of approving a government leader’s proposal to automatically upgrade B2 class motorcycle licence-holders to the full B class.
The B2 licence is for motorcycles with engines below 250cc in capacity (commonly called kapcai bikes) while the B licence allows holders to ride any motorcycle including those over 500cc (or superbikes).
Road safety expert Law Teik Hua of Universiti Putra Malaysia’s Road Safety Research Centre, disagreeing with the proposed upgrade, called for changes to the driving school curriculum.
He said different skills are required by licence holders as the two classes involve different types of motorcycles.
“The way we handle small bikes and superbikes is not identical. We need a higher level of skill to handle big bikes or superbikes,” he told FMT.
The proposal for the automatic licence upgrade, without additional tests, came on Sunday from deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is a superbike owner and rider.
He said the proposal would be submitted to the transport ministry for review. “I don’t think (B2 licence holders) need to go for another driving test because they are experienced riders. I do not see the need to impose strict conditions,” he said while at a superbike event.
Law said the government’s proposal comes in the face of statistics showing more than 4,000 motorcyclists dying from road accidents every year.
He urged the government to include a hazard perception module or test in the driving licence curriculum. “Many countries have been employing it for several years to uphold strong road safety records,” he said.
The hazard perception test is a computer-based test that checks how well one can spot hazards when driving on roads and how to respond safely.
Transport expert Rosli Azad Khan said the government would be seen as neglecting road safety if it went ahead with the proposal.
He said B2 class motorcycle driving licence holders did not undergo the same learning and testing procedures as their B class counterparts.
“It is not in the best interest of road safety when they do not adhere to the learning and testing processes stipulated by the Road Transport Ordinance,” he said.
He noted that the government would also forfeit revenue by granting automatic upgrades. The cost of obtaining a B motorcycle driving licence is between RM1,100 and RM1,500.