Downward trend in accidents involving cyclists: Minister

|     Rokiah Mahmud     |

MINISTER of Transport and Infocommunications Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Awang Abdul Mutalib bin Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Yusof yesterday shared statistics on road accidents involving cyclists collected by the Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF) and Brunei Insurance Takaful Association (BITA).

“In 2016 there were nine accidents, while in 2017, 15 accidents were recorded, including one fatality. For 2018 there were eight accidents,” he said. “From these statistics we can observe that there is a downward trend in accidents involving cyclists in the past three years – a decrease of roughly 50 per cent from the years prior.”

The government has carried out a number of efforts to make the country’s highways more bike-friendly for cyclists, he said.

One of these is the Share Road Campaign initiative led by the Brunei Darussalam National Road Safety Council (MKKJR) in collaboration with strategic partners, where cyclists are allowed to cycle on the main roads on a 1.5m-wide cycling lane, the minister said.

The minister noted this in response to member of the Legislative Council (LegCo) Yang Berhormat Haji Ramli bin Haji Lahit’s question on the issue of cyclists using the highway.

Member of the Legislative Council (LegCo) Yang Berhormat Haji Ramli bin Haji Lahit. – BAHYIAH BAKIR

“Under this Share Road Initiative, cyclists are advised to follow a number of rules, such as wearing bright coloured outfits especially at night, using white headlamps for their bikes in the front and red ones at the back, installing bells or horns on their bikes, always riding on the left side of the road, and follow the traffic flow and ride safely on the road,” he said.

For the long-term, the minister added, the ministry through the MKKJR is coordinating efforts together with a number of other ministries, including the Ministry of Development, to make the road infrastructure in the country more bike-friendly.

The efforts will encompass aspects of road safety and connectivity, including safety for all road users, drivers and passengers of vehicles, and other users such as motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians.

There are also plans to set up a Highway Management Communications hotline specifically targetted at cycling enthusiasts. In the meantime, the public may use the general and existing emergency hotlines to get prompt help for any emergency situation on the roads, Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Awang Abdul Mutalib said.

To lodge complaints on traffic offences, the minister advised the public to contact the Darussalam hotline at 123 or contact it via WhatsApp at 8333123, providing information such as the date, time and location of the incident as well as other relevant information.

He highlighted that the Land Transport Department along with a number of other stakeholder agencies have been reviewing the 2006 Road Traffic Regulations (Bicycle) to improve road safety for cyclists and to ensure cycling activities are properly organised and regulated.

Several suggestions to improve cyclists’ safety were also raised during the ‘Bicycle Rules: Stakeholder Engagement Session and Proposed Updates’ held in September 2018 for cycling stakeholders including representatives from government agencies and the private sector as well as the Brunei Darussalam Cycling Federation and bike operators.

“Among the recommendations included providing safety car for cyclists; introducing road cycling guidelines that emphasise on wearing bright outfits especially at night; using helmets and using white headlights red rear bike lights that conform to international standards and bicycle rules in the country,” the minister said.