The following report on road safety in Penang was posted on 24 January 2016 on our joint WhatsApp Sustainable Penang site by Prof. Dr. Ahmad Farhan Mohd Sadullah, Professor in Transport Studies at the School of Civil Engineering, Universiti Sains Malaysia. He was Director-General of the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS) between 2008 and 2011, and was critical behind many road safety strategies of the country
Welcome new members. I am Prof Farhan of USM one of the pioneering members and partner in out quest to reduce the miseries on our roads in Penang. I am going to repost my summary of last year’s effort for the benefit of our new members.
Dear Road Safety champions of Penang. Greetings and a Happy New Year. The year 2015 has been an eventful one for all of us, and certainly for road safety in Penang. The year 2015 was not only the year we launched the Penang Road Safety Plan 2014 – 2020, it was also the first year Penang had employed a strategic approach towards reducing the miseries on our roads.
Our target was simple, which is to reduce five important road safety indicators by 10% from the previous year. We were able to effectively track the number of fatalities so that it does not go beyond the 340 mark. Through the invaluable cooperation of PDRM, we were able to track the progress of our road safety performance, vis-a-vis road fatalities throughout the year. Whilst the data was not final and not absolutely accurate, it has proven that timely data can indeed be enabling. Suitingly, this is also the first pillar in the Penang Road Safety Strategies (enabling data and information).
Unofficially, through our counts, for the year 2015, Penang roads have contributed to 321 death as a results of a road crash. As far as the target is concern, we have achieved our target, but it is still 321 lives too many. At the moment we do not have yet the other critical indicators such as serious injuries and numbers of crashes, which will tell us that Penang must work even harder for 2016 to further reduce the miseries on our roads.
USM is presently coming up with the 2015 Penang road safety report. Allow me to share some salient findings. These are all based on non official data and based on reported data as part of our strategic effort this year. Nevertheless, they are still useful for all of us to use for our respective 2016 strategies, activities and interventions.
- This Penang Road Safety Whatapps group is very key. Thanks UPLL and all.
- The willingness for PDRM to feed us fresh crash information (with tact and anonymity) is equally key. Thanks PDRM.
- Motorcycle is by far our biggest victim. Almost 78% of 2015 death (up to November) are motorcycle riders
- Almost 88% of fatal crashes in Penang will involve a motorcycle
- The months of Ramadhan and Syawal (July and August, 2015) contributed to almost 2 death per day as opposed to 0.93 death per day required for us to not go beyond 340 fatalities for 2015.
- Other than July and August, the month of January, September and November were the next three highest months for 2015
- SPT had the highest number of fatal crashes, followed by SPU, TL, BD and SPS.
- The number of fatal crashes happened mostly on straight roads followed by winding roads and unsignalised intersections.
- There are still many fatalities and fatal crashes that can be attributed to ” non-forgiving roads”. To note, this also our second pillar in the Penang Road Safety Strategies. USM is carrying out an audit on the fatal locations.
- The profile of fatal motorcycle crashes is under analysis, and high in the list are due to hitting the rear end of stationary vehicles, and hitting a reversing vehicle; head on collision with other vehicles; losing control and fell under a moving lorry; high speed crash leading to hitting objects on and at the side of the roads; jumping red light and being hit by other vehicles.
I hope this long note will help all of us, appreciate our achievements and efforts for road safety. Perhaps the first and the only one in Malaysia. We have been rewarded by achieving our target for 2015, but it also says that we have to work even harder in order for Penang roads to be the safest in the country, if not the world.
We have been a great group. Let us start 2016 with the resolve to be more strategic, to honour and deliver our reponsibilities, and to come with more effective interventions. Let us wait for the official figure for 2015 from PDRM and we will announce our 2016 target. Before detail recommendations are announced, what is crystal, we have to address seriously our third pillar “safer for motorcyclists”.
Thank you all and enjoy the day before we all get back to work tomorrow. Be safe and pray for others to be safe.
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About the editor:
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Bio: Educated as a development economist, Eric Britton is an American political scientist, teacher and international sustainability activist who has lived and worked in Paris since 1969. Professor of Sustainable Development, Economy and Democracy at the Institut Supérieur de Gestion (Paris), he is also MD of EcoPlan Association, an independent advisory network providing strategic counsel for government and business on policy and decision issues involving complex systems, social-technical change and sustainable development. Founding editor of World Streets: The Politics of Transport - https://worldstreets.wordpress.com . | Britton online: https://goo.gl/9CJXTh