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Bike-hailing: road safety must be prioritised

  • The operators must be regulated while the safety and welfare of the riders must be guaranteed and passenger safety put above profitability.

Sin Chew Daily

Transport minister Anthony Loke announced that the government had approved bike-hailing service which would be put to a test run for six months beginning next January.

Prior to that, the ministry had objected to such bike-hailing service. Loke said in the Parliament in July that his ministry would not approve the service because of the relatively high accident rate involving motorcycles. The service provided by Dego Ride in Klang Valley had to be suspended because of that.

However, youth and sports minister Syed Saddiq subsequently brought the issue into the cabinet meeting as he felt this service could create more job opportunities for the youths and would help mitigate the problem of youth unemployment.

It is not hard to see that the reversal has been a result of compromise after cabinet discussions.

The government's priority now is to tackle the sluggish economy and the issue of employment. The rise of hailing services has doubtlessly brought tremendous job opportunities for young Malaysians, including meal delivery, passenger rides and goods delivery.

The proposed bike-hailing service is expected to create yet another channel of income for young Malaysians.

Syed Saddiq has often voiced up for the young people in this country because young people constitute a very important vote bank for the ruling Pakatan Harapan coalition, and the government must do everything to solve the many problems encountered by them.

Given the inadequate connectivity in Klang Valley, the introduction of bike-hailing service in town should help bring the first and last miles together. Similar services have proven to be highly popular in traffic-clogged cities like Jakarta and Bangkok, offering convenient transport services between transit stations and the final destinations of commuters.

Having said that, the issue of safety must never be overlooked. It has been reported that the cabinet has agreed to put bike-hailing service under the Road Transport Act 1987, Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board Act 1987 and Land Public Transport Act 2010.

Those interested to provide bike-hailing service will be tested beginning January to prove its effectiveness.

These are all very important steps and caution has to be exercised at every level, from testing phase to legislation, as it entails road traffic as well as the safety of road users

The operators must be regulated while the safety and welfare of the riders must be guaranteed and passenger safety put above profitability. All these are factors the authorities must seriously take into consideration before the service is officially introduced.

Legislation is a problem. Effective enforcement is another issue that we must look into seriously. It is not uncommon for motorcyclists to flout every traffic rule on our roads, in particular the food delivery riders. They often jump the red light, endangering not only themselves but also other road users.

While approving bike-hailing service, it is imperative that the authorities also tighten their enforcement efforts.

Any new measure that will improve transport coverage of the city will be warmly welcome by the public, but we also urge the enforcement authorities and the police not to condone motorcyclists who blatantly violate traffic rules.

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