In today's unpopular opinion, is there really a difference between basikal lajak and those who participate in touge activities at Ulu Yam?
There's a lot of coverage, chatter, and opinions on the recent judgement of Sam Ke Ting, who was sentenced to six years in prison and fined RM6,000 for causing the deaths of eight teenagers on basikal lajak.
Because the courts ruled in favour of the deceased children, memes and jokes have sprung up on social media, with some netizens poking fun at the situation by summarising that the new king of the road is 'Basikal Lajak' instead of cars. What is your view on the matter?
What's the difference between Ulu Yam touge sessions and basikal lajak?
Please don't do this! Video credits to Malaysian Crash Compilation and Jordan Honda Team
Perceptions about the incident and subsequent ruling have remained mixed, as varied as the kuah nasi kandar at your favourite eatery but that's not what we're here to discuss today. The question we'd like to pose is, how different are the Ulu Yam touge sessions compared to basikal lajak?
Are they not exactly the same thing just using different modes of transportation?
Both basikal lajak and Ulu Yam touge:
- is illegal
- endanger others
- take place on public roads - not closed street circuits
- participants use little to no safety gear
- can cause fatalities - as we've unfortunately seen
Road Transport Act 1987
For those of you who participate in touge activities, you are in breach of Section 41 of the Road Transport Act 1987, which states:
"any person who, by the driving of a motor vehicle on a road recklessly or at a speed or in a manner which having regard to all the circumstances (including the nature, condition, and size of the road, and the amount of traffic which is or might be expected to be on the road) is dangerous to the public, causes the death of any person shall be guilty of an offence..."
For the basikal lajak crew, they are breaking the law by riding on the highway without permission, which under Section 54(1) of the Road Transport Act 1987 is an illegal act. Cycling activities on highways without the permission of police or the Malaysian Highway Authority (LLM) can get them penalised or a prison term of up to 12 months. On top of that, the failure to install front and rear lights, as well as a bell, under Article 35 of the Road Regulations 1959 is also an offence.
Take it off the streets!
Basikal lajak or even touge sessions while on public roads are dangerous, do inherently have their benefits if given the opportunity in a safe controlled space. We have some really good and talented drivers and cyclists in Malaysia, and I've seen both firsthand. The problem is that they don't have access to a controlled environment to test their skill and sharpen their technique. This is why they head to public roads to do so, chasing thrills at the expense of others. We at Carlist.my do not in any way shape, or form condone this. That's why through CarTell we organise gymkhanas in controlled locations so that the car community can have fun, sharpen your skills and be safe.
Perhaps if the powers that be and we're looking at state governments here provided drivers and cyclists with a safe place to practice their skills without costing an arm and a leg, exceptional talents could be identified, which might be beneficial to our national sporting aspirations.
On the cycling side, I know that some initiatives around the country like Junior Cycling Malaysia and Bikeschool Malaysia have done a good job in educating and turning the Basikal Lajak kids into proper athletes and providing them with a suitable space and environment to do so. Now can we have a similar programme to nurture young motorsport talents?
Do we have to wait for a death before something is done?
Do we have to wait for something more serious to happen involving another 8 lives or more before we do something? In all honesty, both basikal lajak and touge sessions are one and the same as they both race on public roads but with different types of machines. One has garnered a lot of attention because eight youths are now dead so do we have to wait for some more deaths before the other one gets any ridicule, attention, bans?
Both these activities unsupervised and uncontrolled endanger innocent Malaysians and need to stop! The government should be proactively looking for a solution on how to do so, one immediate idea being to maintain and allow access to the smaller circuits we have around the country for car clubs and car enthusiasts groups to safely test their limits and skills on.
If we can have more of these types of initiatives and facilities, we could possibly have more Azizulhasni Awangs and more Alex Yoongs, but till the government provides either party with more opportunities, unfortunately, we will see more of them hitting the road an underground street races, let it be on a bicycle or a car.