Stop tolerating dangerous riders

THE combination of an incurious media and the glacial pace of police investigations in this country has unfortunately left the serious case of a driver who was dragged out of his car, tied up beaten to death earlier last week, with a rather dissatisfying outcome. 

Perhaps it is a sign of the times that we live now that this rather shocking and blatant breakdown of society is not even a major headline. 

Earlier in the week, five suspects were arrested in the death of a 42-year-old driver at Taman Pelangi Semenyih 2 on Feb 20. 

Police said the suspects, aged between 22 and 52, were arrested from around the area and have been remanded on suspicion of murder. And oh, they were also arrested for suspicion of running foul of Section 41 of the Road Transport Act which deals with causing death by reckless driving among other things. 

Gleaning from what has been circulated on social media, which in turn is mostly based on what else, but a viral video clip, it is alleged that the unfortunate driver had a crash with a motorcyclist, who was reportedly a member of the p-hailing brotherhood of angry food deliverers. 

When the driver did not stop, some other motorcyclists gave chase and after the car crashed into a wall, he was dragged out of his vehicle and beaten senseless. 

When police finally arrived at the scene, they found the man was already dead and with his hands tied. 

Police said the motive of the beating has not been established but one would come to the obvious conclusion that a man is now dead because of some mob action by a group of motorcyclists because he had crashed into one of their kind.

In other words, a motorcycle mob ganged up and beat a man to death in plain view in an act of street justice.

Whether the unfortunate driver was wrong or right in the earlier accident, it is never justified to beat a man to death. 

Perhaps the incident is not major news because we are distracted by other events like the unchecked cruelty of Israel geno- ciding some Palestinians, the dismal ringgit and the death of an elder statesman from Sarawak. Heck, even Sonny Bill Williams is in town. Who knows? 

But my suspicion is that Malaysians have long grown used to the fact that motorcyclists are lawless when it comes to traffic offences and this, although an extreme example, is just another thing that comes along once in a while. 

At any given time when we drive, we are used to seeing tiny death machines going the wrong way, not stopping at traffic lights and 

generally causing too many close encounters with other motorists that are disasters waiting to happen. And sad to say, almost all of these road cowboys are food deliverers. 

We have been brushing aside these seriously dangerous infrac- tions for too long. Maybe it is because we can empathise with their life struggles in making a living from tiny commissions. Maybe it is because we also appreciate that they are, most of the time, the first people to help out in traffic accidents and other mishaps on the road. 

But the truth is that motorcyclists have far too long been left to break the traffic rules that when police and other authorities act on them, the public would usually be sympathetic with the riders. 

Until of course, they result in deaths. 

Lorries are another source of never-ending news of deaths and destruction due to poorly failed brakes and other preventable causes. The same goes for those recreational motorcyclists on big bikes menacing other motorists on the highways, but that is a story for another day. 

The accident, or maybe murder, of the man in Semenyih, is admittedly an extreme case of this lawless motorcycle culture, but it is a direct result of not enforcing traffic laws. 

The authorities seem powerless at the moment to bring every dangerous traffic infringement to book but something needs to be done to curb this source of dangerous driving that, in this case, has prompted some of them to think that they are entitled to mob behaviour. 

It is time that we change our tolerance for their behaviour on the road and ask our enforcers to do their job. 

  • ZB Othman is an editor of The Malaysian Reserve. 

  • This article first appeared in The Malaysian Reserve weekly print edition