It was a nerve-racking moment when a motorcyclist and a child riding pillion hit a car near Sri Petaling yesterday, which resulted in the child being thrown onto the road. The incident was captured in dashcam video that has since gone viral on social media, and the police are seeking the car owner and witnesses of the incident.

In the 19-second video, the rider and his passenger were coming up to a split road and intended to switch lanes to make a right turn. However, the rider appeared to not notice a white BMW nearby and hit the car.

The force of the impact threw the young pillion rider onto the road, while the rider was thrown off his motorcycle shortly after went it rode over a kerb before crashing into a divider. Thankfully, both rider and passenger suffered only minor injuries, but the situation could have been worse considering the child was not wearing a helmet, but the adult rider was.

It is imperative for anyone riding on a motorcycle to wear a helmet, regardless of age. For those with younger riders, make sure that the helmets worn bear SIRIM’s safety mark and are fitted properly. Helmets meant for adults may not provide adequate protection since they are not sized to fit the smaller heads of children.

In 2022, Bernama conducted a survey at schools located in three densely populated areas in the Klang Valley and found that over 300 children aged between five to 12 riding pillion were not wearing helmets when they were either picked up or dropped off from their schools.

The publication also spoke with Dr Kulanthayan KC Mani, a road safety expert and lecturer at the department of community health in Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM). “Statistics in 2019 showed that out of 6,167 deaths caused by road crashes, about 1,000 involved children… these incident could have been avoided. Wearing a helmet approved by SIRIM is one of the ways to avoid sustaining severe injuries or getting killed in a crash,” he said.

There have also been calls to set a minimum age for pillion riders, with associated professor Dr Law Teik Hua telling Bernama, “it’s dangerous for children below five years to ride pillion because at their age, they can’t sit stably due to their small size and body posture. And their legs are too short for their feet to rest on the rear foot pegs properly.”

“Furthermore, the kids are not mature or smart enough to be able to stabilise themselves and follow the rider’s rhythm as he/she makes a turn and so on. This is why it is crucial to set a minimum age for pillion riders,” he added.

Of course, such a matter is a delicate one, particularly for those in the low-income or B40 group that don’t have cars and depend on motorcycles. Law also said the authorities should review the prices of SIRIM-certified helmets, while Kulanthayan urged for more efforts to educate parents on where to source proper helmets for their children.

If you have yet to invest in a proper junior helmet for your young pillion rider, please get one ASAP.