In March last year, deputy transport minister Datuk Aziz Kaprawi said the transport ministry would request that the relevant road transport authorities deny motorcyclists use of the fast lane on gazetted highways and expressways. Intended as a measure to reduce fatalities amongst motorcyclists, there was no further information as to whether the deputy minister’s request was forwarded or acted upon.

We recently received an email from paultan.org reader N.C., who asked the Road Transport Department (JPJ) the same question, and received an affirmative answer. The matter transpired when N.C. was involved in an accident along the Lebuhraya Damansara-Puchong (LDP).

In the incident, N.C. was driving in the outermost, or fast lane, on the LDP, with a concrete barrier on his right. A motorcyclist attempted to overtake N.C.’s car on the right by squeezing into the gap, but obviously misjudged the distance. This resulted in damage to the vehicle, and the wing mirror being broken off.

According to N.C.’s account, the police did not take any action against the motorcyclist, and classified the case as “refer to magistrate”. This meant that N.C. had no recourse to an insurance claim against the rider, pending new information.

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Unsatisfied with the police response to the matter, N.C. sent a query to JPJ, asking if motorcycles were allowed in the fast lane of highways. A reply was received from a JPJ Putrajaya officer, stating that motorcycles were not allowed on the fast lane of highways.

N.C. believes that such a situation, where no fault is found against the motorcycle rider, should not be allowed to happen. He then received a recommendation from the JPJ officer to file another police report in order to pursue further action.

We reached out to both the JPJ and police to determine the ruling on whether motorcycles are forbidden from using the fast lane on highways, but were unable to obtain an official statement. However, perusal of the government gazette up to 2011 did not reveal any ruling specifically forbidding bikes from the fast lane, as would have had to happen if Kaprawi’s request had actually been tabled.

Further research into the Road Transport Act 1987 showed there is no specific rule or regulation forbidding the use of the fast lane by motorcycles. Credible sources mentioned that motorcycles are forbidden to use the highway only when there is a gazetted (dedicated) motorcycle lane alongside the highway, such as the Federal Highway, the Guthrie Corridor Expressway and Kajang-Seremban Highway (LEKAS).

In all other cases, motorcycles are entitled to the use of any lane on the highway. Our source did say that slow motorcycles are suggested to keep to the left-most lane, or use the emergency lane, as circumstances permit. In short, technically, it isn’t illegal for motorcycles to be on the fast lane on Malaysian highways.

Obviously, overtaking in the fast lane when there is a only concrete divider next to you is not a smart move, because you have nowhere to run if the car on your left decides to move suddenly. Over to you, dear readers. What do you think – should motorcycles be banned from the fast lane? Leave a comment with your thoughts and opinions below.