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Tips on safety for motorists, m-cyclists

The accident which occurred at Ulu Tiram, Johor, where four motorcyclists participating on a road safety campaign perished was a very unfortunate incident.

There is however a painful lesson to be learnt from the incident by all road users, two-wheeled or four-wheeled alike.

Motorcyclists and other motorised vehicle drivers share three very common traits. Firstly, they share the space on Malaysian roads to commute from point A to point B safely.

Secondly, they share the costs that give us the right as Malaysians to use these roads.

Finally, they share the responsibility of ensuring that our actions on these roads do not endanger ourselves and other road users.

These are a few basic rules to observe which are usually forgotten by road users which could ensure that a safety margin exists for all of us when sharing Malaysian roads.

For the sake of other motorists:
* Always use your signals to indicate whether you are turning, overtaking or changing lanes. Motorcyclists are very vulnerable as their reaction time and margin of safety differ greatly from other road users.
* When pulling out of junctions, ensure that the approaching motorcycle rider notices you. If possible give them the right of way as the consequences can be disastrous for them if an accident occurs.
* Use your mirrors when overtaking to ensure that the rear or side of your vehicle is free of motorcycles. The few seconds you spend being more observant may save the life of a motorcyclist and also save their families from grief.
* Be patient. After all we do share the same road to commute. Do not intimidate the motorcyclist with an aggressive driving stance as the rider may panic and lose control of his motorcycle.

For the motorcyclist:
* Always ensure that you are highly visible to other road users. Wear bright clothing, switch on your lights and if need be use your horn to warn other road users of your presence.
* Ensure that your motorcycles are fit to be on the roads. Adhere to a proper maintenance schedule as prescribed by the manufacturer. Check that the brakes, lights, tyres, chains and clutch (where applicable) are in good working order. Replace worn-out parts. The cost of a new brake pad is always cheaper when compared to loss of life.
* Conduct your riding within the limitations of your skill and experience. Do not follow your desire or be impatient. Always learn to look way ahead of your line of travel. Situations can change very fast on a motorcycle, with very dire consequences.
Always be prepared for the unexpected. Learn to keep at least one finger hovering over the brake levers, it saves milliseconds off your reaction time. Most importantly, concentrate on riding your vehicle in a safe and proper manner.
* When overtaking or approaching a junction ensure that the proper signals are used. Make sure that other vehicles notice your presence.
* Lastly, use the highly acclaimed SPIDE system on how to effectively and safely use your motorcycle:

S - Search around for potentially hazardous situations;
P - Predict whether hazards will or will not endanger you and others;
I - Identify possible hazards, i.e. turning cars, junctions, etc;
D - Decide on how to avoid any hazards;
E - Execute the proper action to carry out your decision.
By observing the basic rules above and being patient, considerate and, most of all, tolerant of one another, motorcyclists and other road users can all-co-exist and use Malaysian roads safely and effectively.

After all, at the end of a hard day at work, our intentions are the same, to return to our homes and our loved ones ... safely.