In a bid to reduce the number of deaths amongst Malaysian motorcyclists, the Works Ministry is in favour of introducing a policy which will restrict motorcyclists to the left most lane on highways. The proposed restriction will come into effect during peak rush hour on weekdays.

This was said by Works minister Baru Bian, as reported by news portal The Mole. Citing accident statistics, Baru said motorcycle deaths during commuting hours had reach “alarming levels,” with over 4,000 motorcyclists in Malaysia dying yearly and many more injured.

“I think we can apply certain provisions during those hours of the working days like during the high (volume) traffic period that bikers may be limited to ride only on the most left side of the road,” said Baru. However, Baru said implementation of such a policy along highways such as New Klang Valley Expressway (NKVE) and KL-Seremban Highway would not be soon as all parties would need to be consulted.

“I think we can apply certain provisions during those hours on working days, that bikers may be limited to ride only on the left-most side of the road. This is perhaps more feasible,” said the minister, “I think any suggestion for the policy to be enforced round the clock is not suitable currently.”

This was said in response to a suggestion by road safety advocates Safety First Group, advised by Datuk Seri Azman Ujang, for the government to enforce a blanket ruling on such a policy. Earlier this year, the group forwarded a proposal to Transport minister Anthony Loke for bikers to be confined to the left lane.

The proposal also called for bikers to not only be confined to the left but also be restricted to a speed of 70 km/h. Loke had at the time said such a proposal would have to be reviewed, saying enforcement would be difficult adding he was aware weak enforcement contributed to a rise in road accidents and that enforcement and existing regulations would be tightened.

Meanwhile, The Malay Mail, quoting a Bernama report, said Azman has called the minister’s support of the proposal “welcome news.” “Despite the highly alarming number of people, especially among the young, killed in motorcycle crashes year in and year out, nothing much has been done to address this very serious issue,” he said.

The provenance of the Whatsapp based Safety First Group is not widely known, nor the key personnel behind it, aside from Azman, chairman of national news agency Bernama, and founder Samad Rahim, and their advocation for Malaysian motorcyclists to be marginalised and discriminated against. From research, the group was established in 2016 after a fire in the Sultan Aminah hospital in Johor claimed six lives and currently claims to have 500 members.

Furthermore, it is unknown if the group has actually consulted the primary stakeholders in such a proposal, the motorcyclists themselves, or done any studies to determine the causes of fatal accidents amongst bikers.