The director of the ThaiRAP road safety group has spoken out, saying that the very bad roads are a major cause of motorcycle accidents in the Kingdom.
Kasem Choocharukul noted that Thailand has the highest number of deaths from motorcycle accidents in the world. According to a report by the Bangkok Post, 3 out of 4 roads with a length of 1,000 kilometres are classified as unsafe for motorcyclists.
Risks include winding lanes designed for cars, not two-wheelers and hazards like potholes. He blames the fact that Thailand’s roads are designed for motorists, not cyclists, even though the latter make up the majority of road users.
“Roads in Australia, France, England and the US are usually designed for cars because there are proportionately more cars than motorcycles, but in Thailand, that is not the case.”
Other dangers in Thailand include bicycle lanes on the left, which are also the lane for trucks. Installing utility poles and trees along the road has also contributed to the number of motorcyclists fatalities, while road borders are designed for cars rather than two-wheelers. Kasem urges the government to invest more in road safety measures for Thai motorcyclists.
“If the government feeds only 0.1–0.2% of GDP per year, or about 15 billion baht, into the road network, it will save about 7,500 people from road accidents every year.”
Recently, a report from the World Health Organization found that more than 22,000 people died in traffic accidents in Thailand that year, with 74% of the victims being motorcyclists. Chamaiphan Santikan, a former WHO adviser, says the number of motorcycles in the kingdom is increasing by about a million each year. Although 21 million bicycles are registered, about 11 million users do not have a driver’s license. Chamaiphan points out that the annual death rate from motorcycle accidents is higher than the number of Covid-19 deaths.
“Over the past 18 years, the annual number of deaths from motorcycle accidents has exceeded the number of deaths we saw last or this year from Covid19. But the government has not taken any action to solve this problem. A proposal has been made to the Prime Minister, but no progress has been made.”
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