First. Has anyone driven along a dimly lit road, at night, when suddenly out of nowhere, your headlights pick up a cyclist or motorbike, riding in the middle of the road? Worse still the rider is riding on the wrong side of the road, and is coming towards you.
The biker wrongly thinks he is visible, but his bike has no lights, and he is wearing dark clothes.
Even with your headlights on, and driving slowly, at 30 miles per hour, you may not have enough time to stop, especially if there is a bend in the road, or a slope, or if the bike is going fast.
Second. Now just imagine that you are driving along a road, and you find a group of bicyclists in your path. They have no lights on, they are wearing dark clothing. and you did not see them, until the last minute. You swerve to avoid one, but as there are several, you hit some of the others.
Third. Has anyone driven along a road, when suddenly out of nowhere, a group of Mat Rempits, appear from nowhere, knock on your window, and challenge you to a race?
Despite ignoring them, they continue to goad you, and bang on the roof of your car.You wonder if they are high on drugs. Their eyes are bloodshot and when they sneer and snarl at you, your only thought is to get out of there as quickly as possible.
I have come across cyclists riding in the dark and been chased by Mat Rempits. It is a scary experience, especially if they are bunched together, and you are on your own.
The people who accused the 22-year-old woman, who was involved in the bicycle tragedy, of “deliberately” ramming the group of cyclists, can’t be familiar with the scenarios I described, earlier.
Not all lanes have lamp posts and many country lanes on the outskirts of towns, are not lit.
Most people observe the traffic rules, like driving on the correct side of the road, switching on their lights to be visible to other road users, and wearing light or luminous clothing at night.
In Malaysia, Mat Rempits are king of the road
Sadly, this is Malaysia, where Mat Rempits take over our roads, and terrorise other vehicle users. We drive along the emergency lanes. We do not value road safety, we ignore the highway code, and wonder why our accident rate is high.
The teenage cyclists who were out at 3 a.m., were racing with other cyclists. The police are aware of their activities and have tried, on numerous occasions, to disperse them. The place is a well known hub for racing.
Think of the bicycle racers as a training ground, until the children can progress onto kapcais, and become Mat Rempits.
Do the teenagers not attend school, or have to get up in the morning? Perhaps, it is the holiday season.
A few years ago, 14-year-old Aminulrasyid Amzah was shot by the police, in Shah Alam. He was a joy rider. He did not deserve to be shot 17 times, and the accusation that he had a parang in the boot of his car, was a blatant lie.
Most people overlooked the ease with which he was able to get hold of the keys to his sister’s car and take it for a ride, without the household noticing. He was too young to have a driving licence. His family did not know that he had left the house until the police came to say that he had died, a few yards from his home.
Not parents’ neglect
The parents of one of the cyclists killed in Johre Baru said that they cannot be accused of neglecting their children.
It is true.
Neglect is the wrong word. The children were overindulged.
Neither the police nor the school, can do the job of the parents.
Sometimes, parents must learn to be tough, in order to be kind.
Discipline, like charity must start at home.