Thai parents upset over proposal to ban young children from motorbikes

BANGKOK (THE NATION/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A proposed ban on young children riding on motorcycles has upset many parents who use a bike to send their children to school.

The Office of the Consumer Protection Board (OCPB) proposed on Wednesday that motorcycle passengers must be older than six years old.

Statistics show that many children have died or been injured in motorcycle accidents, which make up 80 per cent of all road accidents.

A study found that children often fall asleep on the bike, and many of them do not wear safety helmets.

"We believe it's necessary to put a warning label on every motorcycle too. The label should read 'Death and disability without using helmet'," said OCPB deputy secretary general Virachai Chomsakorn.

Despite its good intentions, the proposed ban did not sit well with parents who rely on the two-wheeler to send their kids to school.

Factory worker Boonta Vicheanchuy, who hires a motorcycle taxi to send her boy to school, is worried about costs.

"The school bus services will be more expensive. I can't afford them," she said.

Darame Paitisakul, who has a 4-year-old son, said she does not trust school bus services, after reading reports of children being left in school buses and dying of suffocation.

"What am I supposed to do if this proposal gets the green light?" she lamented.

Civil servant Thawichai Milarp is concerned about travelling time.

"If we don't use motorcycles, my children will have to wake up before sunrise because of traffic jams," he said.