Monday, April 23, 2012

Disabled drivers who endanger themselves

IS there a speed limit for disabled persons riding modified motorcycles? I am asking this because of what I saw on the Middle Ring Road recently while I was on the way to Sri Damansara from Batu Caves.

I was driving at 70kph on the elevated highway when a disabled motorcyclist overtook me on the two-lane road.

I doubt the chap, who was riding a modified cub with a rear three-wheel set-up, was aware of the speed at which he was going. He must have been travelling at no less than 90kph before he disappeared into the distance.

The incident was not the first time I had seen a disabled motorcyclist throwing caution to the wind.

Some months back, I saw one who was following a train of bikers riding up the road shoulders to avoid the traffic jam on the road.

The fact the disabled biker almost lost control of his machine when one of his rear wheels slipped did not appear to frighten him, as he tried to maintain balance on what I thought was a narrow ledge for the modified bike.

Another encounter I had was near Sentul Pasar one morning. A makcik with a disability was riding a special motorcycle with a signboard mounted in the rear. The signboard that read orang kurang upaya (or OKU referring to person with disability) was written in a font large enough to be legible from at least 10m.

I thought that was how all bikes for the disabled should be set up. Seeing the makcik riding slowly on the left lane, I also thought that she was a fine example for other disabled bikers to emulate until I noticed that she was not even wearing a helmet. The only covering on her head was a red headscarf.

The traffic policeman, who was busy manning traffic at a zebra crossing there, must have missed it or he would have given her a summons for riding without a helmet.

Once, while travelling from Malacca to Kuala Lumpur along the North-South Expressway, I found myself behind a very slow moving MPV. I thought the driver must have been catching forty winks when I noticed the OKU sticker on the rear windscreen.

But as I was overtaking the MPV, I saw a middle-aged man driving with one hand on the steering wheel and the other, a mobile phone. He was either surfing the Net or he was trying to text someone. When he saw me staring at him, he didn't look surprised, and he continued with what he was doing.

I get angry whenever I see able-bodied motorists depriving the disabled of the OKU parking lots or when they do not give way to the latter when on the road. But when disabled bikers or motorists do not show concern for their safety or that of others by riding or driving recklessly, it drives me up the wall.

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