As the number of motorcycles being purchased and used in Thailand has exploded so has the number of people riding them without a licence and dying on the roads.
Thailand has one of the worst per capita death tolls in the world – maybe 24,000 to 26,000 per annum – and 70-80% of that is from motorcyclists, notes Thaivisa.
Now damning statistics have come from a leading advocate of road safety with calls to the prime minister of Thailand to follow a six point plan to avoid nearly 4,000 deaths a year to young people.
There is also a call to designate a “Big Bike” as only 249 cc not the current 400cc, a recent change in itself.
Dr Chaimaiphan Santikan – former WHO advisor in Asia on injuries and the handicapped and now working on motorcycle safety – was speaking at the Amari Airport Hotel as reported by New TV.
She said that one million more motorcycles were appearing on Thailand’s roads per year and the figure was now 21 million vehicles (more than double that of cars).
Eighteen years ago 1 motorcyclist died per hour.
Now nearly two are dying every hour – one per 35 minutes.
She said that between 2011 and 2019 26,126 children and young people died.
In the next eleven years the death toll among youth could be expected to be 40,000 if nothing is done.
Drowning used to be the number one death toll for under 15s – now it is on a par with bike deaths.
Of particular concern are the lack of safety specs for bikes in Thailand, lack of graduated driver licensing, poor training for newbies, poor rules about who can ride what kind of bikes and roads lacking motorcycle lanes.
She said that motorcyclists are forced by the law to inhabit the same space on the roads as large trucks and buses resulting in the unwary being sucked under the wheels of the larger vehicles due to aerodynamics, drafting and slipstreaming.
Dr Chamaiphan has sent a six point plan to Thai PMPrayuth Chan-ocha to address the issue of motorcycle safety as a matter of priority.
She is calling for the changing of laws and regulations, better helmet use and changes to bike specs and limits on their speed to discourage easy adaption and street racing.
She also proposes that the “Big Bike” designation be changed to make it those with engine sizes of 249cc up.
She also proposes an “L” category for bikes in which the rider is limited to going 50 kmph and changes to the issuing of licences so they relate to the age and experience of the rider.
Nowhere in the New TV article were the police mentioned.
Critics of the RTP say that lack of enforcement of road rules has been a major part of the problem and until this is adequately addressed other moves to limit the appalling carnage on Thai roads are destined to fail, notes Thaivisa.
(Source :- Thai Visa News)