Do you think we’ve seen the worst of food delivery riders during this Covid-19 pandemic period?
We’ve also seen with our own eyes how motorcyclists, especially food delivery riders, beat red lights with increasing frequency and almost absolute impunity.
It’s gone to the extent that the law abiding motorcyclist who stops at the red light is asked by the food delivery rider at the rear, usually politely, to give way for him to speed through it.
There was an interesting newspaper report the other day about food delivery riders taking over the newly improved pavements in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, causing many near misses with pedestrians, including mothers and children.
With the increasing boldness and frequency of motorcyclists violating road safety rules, many motorists wonder if traffic police have surrendered urban roads and traffic safety laws to these reckless motorcyclists, especially food delivery riders?
The truth of the matter is that the police are not yet enforcing the law because they don’t know what hit them and how to enforce intelligently because they don’t have the manpower.
A tsunami of delivery riders
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, there’s rising unemployment and people are desperate to make a living, even making only a small profit just to help pay instalments and cover their fuel and pocket money.
With smartphones, Waze and Google Map and the food delivery app, any motorcyclist can be a gig worker.
Subsequently, there’s been a tsunami of food delivery riders and the competition for trips (to deliver food) in the absence of consistent and strict road traffic law enforcement has translated into a shocking crime wave of traffic violations by motorcyclists.
But there’s a way to tackle this: use the Pareto Principle of 20:80.
About 20% of motorcyclists who violate the law are the hardcore – these are the ones who will speed past red traffic lights and ride on pedestrian pavements.
It’s dangerous to stop motorcyclists who are speeding past a red light. On the other hand, it’s a relatively safer task to stop a motorcyclist that’s riding on the pavement.
Come down hard on pavement riders
The police should then work with Kuala Lumpur City Hall’s Enforcement Department to have a total enforcement – all weather 24/7 enforcement — against motorcyclists who ride the pavements in Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Masjid India, Medan Bunus, the multimillion ringgit River Promenade, Jalan Melayu, Lanai Seni and Medan Pasar, as reported by StarMetro.
Since these motorcyclists who ride the pavements are the hardcore offenders who also speed past red lights, seizing their bikes will be such an alarming action that theoretically, they will avoid pavements altogether.
It is understood that the road safety transport authorities are also working with the ride-hailing companies, DBKL and the police on some fronts.
On the government level, the heads of the agencies are in discussion to share the CCTV feeds of DBKL to the transport management centre currently under the command of the police. This means that the pedestrian paths under threat from errant motorcyclists will be monitored 24/7 year-round.
If DBKL is focussed on repulsing motorcyclists from endangering pedestrians, they might even request the cooperation of some building owners to share their CCTV feeds where there is a good view of public areas with a high danger element.
On the secondary level, it is understood that this group of agencies which share a road traffic safety agenda has met with the corporate owners of food-riding apps.
Reward the good ones
They have discussed sharing the data of motorcyclists found violating road traffic safety laws so that serial traffic violators will suffer a penalty. Conversely, those food delivery riders who perform their tasks without any traffic demerit points will be rewarded. The food delivery companies are said to have responded positively.
Finally, the authorities especially the Malaysia Competition Commission (MyCC) should make it a core principle that there is competition in the food delivery business. The two main players are German-owned Foodpanda and Singapore-owned GrabFood.
If this duality is compromised, as it was when Uber sold its stake in Malaysia to Grab, then MyCC should never again let a gig business be monopolised.
For now, the competition has been for both the riders’ and the consumers’ benefit. But the compromise is that road traffic safety has taken a back seat. The enforcement agencies must reclaim their turf and stop the rot as soon as possible.