New licensing regulation soon for motorcyclists
| Hakim Hayat |
IN A move to strengthen road regulations amid the growing number of motorcyclists in the country, authorities are finalising the issuance of a categorised Motorcycle Driving Licence System that will be issued according to the engine capacity and specification of the respective motorcycles.
This will add to the existing single class motorcycle driving licence system as typically, only one type of licence is issued irrespective of engine capacity. Other steps taken include the introduction of basic defensive driving skill lessons for motorcyclists applicable in all driving schools and the reinforcement of standards in motorcycle helmets.
The new licensing regulation, expected to be introduced sometime this year by the Land Transport Department (LTD) was announced by Dato Paduka Haji Awang Alaihuddin bin Pehin Orang Kaya Digadong Seri Lela Dato Seri Utama Haji Awang Mohammad Taha, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Communications cum Chairman of the National Road Safety Council at a press conference yesterday.
This fresh move also comes amid growing public concern over the increase of motorbike-accident fatalities since early this year. A total of four road fatalities were recorded this month alone, of which, three involved motorcyclists and the recent victim was a 22-year-old man who passed away last Sunday.
“Investigations conducted by the Royal Brunei Police Force in the three fatal accidents on January 6, 7 and 14 respectively indicated that two of the motorcyclists were riding high capacity (of 600cc) motorcycles including a motorcyclist who attempted to beat the red light. During last Sunday’s accident, the motorcyclist hit a stationary car that broke down at the right-lane of the highway,” Dato Paduka Haji Awg Alaihuddin said.
As one of the most vulnerable roadusers, members of the National Road Safety Council expressed concern over mishaps involving motorcyclists and have ordered a core group to assess and review measures to be taken in light of the fatal accidents and prevent them from recurring. “We have seen a lot of improvements and also identified weaknesses that need to be rectified and addressed accordingly. We take great concern over these incidents and would like to advise all roadusers especially motorcyclists and bicycle riders to practise vigilance and responsibility while on the road,” Dato Paduka Haji Awg Alaihuddin advised.
The Permanent Secretary also reiterated the need to strengthen and improve the motorcyclists’ quality of handling and their attitudes while on the road through driving schools. “Some of these driving schools already have the capabilities to teach basic defensive driving skills but we are emphasising that all driving schools make it compulsory. This is to ensure that drivers are equipped with essential skills in handling their vehicles in a more cohesive manner in unexpected circumstances,” he added.
The core group, he revealed, will also come up with recommendations on the safe use of motorcycle helmets’ to ensure that they fulfill safety standards and requirements.
Shedding more light on the new Motorcycle driving Licence System, the Director of the Land Transport Department, Hj Khalid bin Hj Mustafa said they are finalising the new regulation and expects it to be ratified very soon.
In the meantime, he said, LTD has taken measures to ensure motorcyclists and learners possess the adequate skills to handle vehicles more prudently through initiatives such as ensuring that driving schools deliver defensive driving courses to disseminate the information to learning motorcyclists. “We also strive to ensure all motorcyclists hold valid driving licences,” he added.
Meanwhile, in light of the fatal accident last Sunday, Senior Supt Awg Azahari bin Hj Awg Besar, Acting Director of the Traffic Control and Investigation Department (JSKLL), Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF) advised roadusers to be vigilant on the road and take precautionary safety measures if facing difficulties such as a car break-down and should alert the police when necessary. “Invest in a warning device such as a ‘retroreflective’ cone or emergency warning sign that can be used to warn other drivers should your car break down. This is for you and other roadusers’ safety,” he said.
Vehicles should also not be abandoned whenever possible in the event of a breakdown and be preferably moved to a safer location.
“Due to the core group’s discussion today, we will take several measures to educate roadusers on what to do during a car break down in the form of leaflets and other mediums,” he concluded.