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Road accidents and fatalities are never pleasant, that much we know. Unfortunately, as grim as car-related accidents are, motorcyclists around the nation still remain part of the unlucky majority when it comes to adding up the statistics. As reported earlier, the year 2014 saw an increase of road accidents involving motorcyclists compared to the previous year – 2,419 reported cases versus 2,163 in 2013.

As a result, PLUS Malaysia, in conjunction with MUFORS (Malaysians Unite for Road Safety), have decided to further elevate the awareness on the importance of safe motorcycling techniques with the introduction of its ‘GEMPAK MUFORS’ road safety campaign – ‘GEMPAK’ (rather cheekily) standing for Gerakan Motosikal Pencetus Amalan Keselamatan.

The second iteration of said safety programme was held at the MARA University of Technology (UiTM) and was attended by around 500 students and staff members of the institution. Before the year is up, PLUS is targeting to chalk up a total of 1,500 attendees for its ‘GEMPAK MUFORS’ campaign. Said programme has also received the support of the Malaysia Institute of Transport (MITRANS).

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“Young motorcyclists play important roles in promoting road safety to their friends, families and other road users,” said PLUS Malaysia COO, Mohammad Fuad Khusairi. “We aim to make safe motorcycle riding a culture among young motorcyclists. The programme is also one of the many efforts to reduce road accidents involving motorcyclists and a part of PLUS’ Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives,” he added.

The ‘GEMPAK MUFORS’ road safety campaign focuses not only on the safety aspects of motorcycle riding itself but also zeroes in on the importance of maintaining one’s motorcycle and learning the ins and outs of how each different class of motorcycle functions. Additionally, the course also showcases the necessary techniques and steps on how to respond to an emergency and provide aid to oneself or others.

“GEMPAK MUFORS seminars combine theory and practical aspects of motorcycle riding,” commented Fuad. As mentioned, basic first aid techniques such as CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and the Heimlich manoeuvre were demonstrated along with steps on how to inspect the condition of a road accident victim. Following that, participants were ushered out to the parking lot for the practical exercise.

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Prior to setting out along the obstacle course, participants were briefed on the basics of motorcycle maintenance such as the optimum tyre pressure which, according to the instructor, is said to be between 28 to 32 PSI (pounds per square inch) for most regular underbone (kap-chai) motorcycles.

With the talk done and dusted, participants were told to follow in turn behind the instructor through a total of four obstacle courses designed to help them improve their riding skills in urban settings. First up is a regular slalom exercise whereby participants were required to zig-zag their way through traffic cones. Now while that may sound easy enough for most riders, all of them were then challenged to repeat it whilst standing.

As noted by the instructor, the point of such an exercise was to help riders improve their overall balance and encourage them to use more of their body weight to influence the handling of a motorcycle. Next up, riders were tasked to ride in a straight line across a narrow beam before moving on to the third exercise whereby they had to trek their way through another “pillar-style” slalom.

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Finally, a “grid-style” slalom exercise was introduced whereby riders were required to manoeuvre their way around said obstacle whilst making sure they did not collide or run into the direction of an oncoming motorcycle from another participant – said course was meant to help riders maintain their focus on the move.

All in all, the entire course was conducted with riders required to go through the obstacles sitting down first before repeating the exercise on two feet while the motorcycle was in motion. As expected, the course ended with most, if not all, of the riders commenting that it was a lot harder to stay on course due to the lack of balance. Kind of makes one think twice about goofing around whilst on a motorcycle, right?