Published: 19 August 2017
Mr Bernard Tay, Chairman, Singapore Road Safety Council
Distinguished Sponsors, Partners and Guests
1. Good morning. I am happy to join you today to launch Singapore Ride Safe 2017.
2. The Singapore Ride Safe campaign is in its eleventh year. Over the past decade, the Singapore Road Safety Council and the Traffic Police have worked with partners to bring important road safety messages to the motorcycling community.
3. This is the second year that the campaign is being launched at the Singapore Bike Show. We hope that this can help spread the message of safe riding to more riders.
Motorcyclists are a Vulnerable Group on our Roads
4. Our roads are generally safer than before. There were fewer fatal traffic accidents and also less motorcycle-related fatalities in the first half of this year, compared to the same period last year. But every road fatality is one too many, and behind every fatality is a grieving family.
5. The fact is motorcyclists are a vulnerable group on our roads. A few weeks ago, a bus accelerated at a red-light junction and slammed into 4 motorcycles along Pasir Panjang Road. Two motorcyclists and a pillion rider were injured and sent to hospital. A few days after that, another motorcyclist was flung high up into the air, after his motorcycle crashed into a stationary car along the SLE. The motorcyclist is still unconscious at the hospital. Some of you may also have seen the horrific video recently where a car flipped over the road divider onto the opposite side of the road, killing one motorcyclist and severely injuring another. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.
6. Overall, motorcyclists accounted for close to 40% of all traffic fatalities in the first half of this year. 40% is a big number. This also meant that almost 1 motorcyclist loses his life on Singapore roads every week.
7. As riders, we must do whatever we can to avoid accidents and protect ourselves. We hope this year's theme, "Gear Up, Ride Safe", will be a timely reminder for all of us to pay attention to two major aspects of road safety.
8. First, "Gear Up". We should put on the right equipment before we get onto our bikes. Motorcyclists are more likely to suffer serious injuries during accidents, because motorcycles do not offer the same protection as larger vehicles. Appropriate protective gear can reduce injuries in an accident. Don't just wear helmets, put on your riding jackets, gloves and boots. Doctors will tell you from the cases they have seen, that protective gear make a big difference.
9. Last year, we reached out to companies that employ delivery riders. We got a positive response. We encouraged them to equip their riders with protective riding gear. Companies like Food Panda and McDonald's came forward and committed to providing safe riding equipment for their riders. We hope more companies will step forward this year and pledge their commitment to protect their riders. So companies and riders, let's "Gear Up"!
10. We will also have a modelling show after my speech. We have seen them dribble at the football field. Today they will strut the catwalk in their safe riding gears. They are our very own footballing heroes – Fandi Ahmad, Nazri Nasir, Lionel Lewis, Noh Alam Shah, S Subramani, and Aleksandar Duric. I read in Aleksandar's book "Beyond Borders" that he first donned the red jersey, representing the Singapore national team in 2007, at age 37. Who would have thought that 10 years later, he will take on an equally important role as a model donning safe riding gears!
11. Together with our other heroes, they will show us how riders can look great wearing safe riding gear. Follow their good lead, look cool, look good, and wear safety gear when riding to be safe.
12. The second theme is, "Ride Safe". It is not difficult to ride safe. A few simple tips will go a long way in ensuring safer roads for motorcyclists. First, when choosing a motorcycle, choose a model that is right for your build, so that you can manoeuvre and ride with ease. If I get a bike, a BMW GS may be too big for me and a Vespa may be a better fit! Second, always keep within the speed limit and maintain a safe braking distance from the vehicle in front, especially during bad weather. Third, avoid riding in the rain if possible. Check the weather forecast. If you really have to ride and are caught in the rain, use approved shelters designated by LTA, stand behind safety railings and switch on your hazard lights. Finally, always stay visible by steering clear of the blind spots of larger vehicles. Don't weave in and out of traffic as this increases the risk of collisions.
13. I hope all the riders will remember and adopt these habits to Ride Safely; pillion riders must also do our part to remind our motorcyclist friends of these important points.
14. The habits I just described will be further reinforced in today's programme. Instructors from the driving schools will share practical advice and relevant road regulations. Do take the time to speak with them, and learn from them.
Everyone has a Role to Play in Road Safety
15. Road safety is everyone's responsibility. We play a part to keep our roads safe. Look out for the "Gear Up, Ride Safe" banners on lamp posts and overhead bridges throughout Singapore. There is also the "Use Your RoadSense" Facebook page. Go make a pledge there! Help us spread the message of "Gear Up, Ride Safe". You can save lives!
16. Thank you to the Singapore Road Safety Council and the Traffic Police for their continuous efforts in promoting road safety, as well as to our corporate partners and driving schools for your strong and long-standing support for this campaign. On this note, I am very pleased to officially launch the Singapore Ride Safe 2017 campaign. I wish everyone a safe and enjoyable day ahead. Thank you.