20 Number of deaths involving motorcycles as well as heavy vehicles in the first half of this year, up from 16 in the same period last year
Just hours before the Traffic Police launched an enforcement blitz yesterday targeting errant heavy vehicle drivers and motorcyclists, there was another death from an accident involving the two.
A man in his 50s was killed at the Tuas Checkpoint after a crash between a lorry and two motorcycles. Two others were injured, and the 45-year-old lorry driver was arrested.
There has been a worrying rise in the number of deaths involving motorcycles, as well as heavy vehicles, including buses and lorries. The number of fatalities involving heavy vehicles were up by 25 per cent to 20 from January to June, compared with 16 in the same period last year.
There were 463 fatal and injury accidents reported, up from 435.
Motorcycle accidents up
Every day, about 12 motorcyclists or pillion riders are hurt or killed in a traffic accident, the Traffic Police has said.
In the first nine months of this year, 3,835 motorcyclists or their pillion riders were involved in accidents, up 3.7 per cent from the 3,698 for the same period last year.
Speaking to reporters before a Traffic Police operation yesterday afternoon, Patrol Unit deputy commanding officer John Chan said: "Motorcyclists often suffer serious injuries or even death during accidents as they are not protected by the shell of their vehicles."
Some accidents caused by dangerous riding, such as weaving in and out of traffic, can be prevented, he said.
The number of fatal or injury accidents from January to September also went up by 4.5 per cent, from 3,264 to 3,410.
Clamping down on errant bikers has been a focus for the Traffic Police (TP) in recent months with outreach events and campaigns warning of the dangers of reckless riding.
One initiative the Traffic Police has rolled out to improve safety is a new message to motorcyclists to "think before you VROOM".
The acronym refers to being "Visible" by switching on the head lights, taking "Responsibility" by riding with caution, especially in wet weather, to "Obey" traffic rules and "Machine" - a reminder to do pre-ride checks on the motorcycle before moving off.
The Traffic Police has also been working with food delivery services to ensure that their riders are dressed in protective and bright clothing.
Yesterday's enforcement action included the Ayer Rajah Expressway, West Coast Highway and Jalan Buroh, where on Nov 24, a 42-year- old motorcyclist was killed when he tried to squeeze his vehicle through a gap between two trucks.
During the police action involving covert officers from the Traffic Police Special Operations Team (SOT), a bus driver failed to keep to the left lane on the expressway, and a lorry driver used his mobile phone while driving.
Both were among 14 errant heavy vehicle drivers who were caught by officers in unmarked cars or "bikers" clad in black jackets. Four motorcyclists and three car drivers were also stopped for various offences.
"Heavy vehicles have a higher propensity to cause severe hurt or fatalities whenever they are involved in accidents," said Traffic Police Patrol Unit's deputy commanding officer John Chan. "In this aspect, heavy vehicle drivers must do their part, such as to check their blind spots and not speed."
The Straits Times accompanied a two-man team in an unmarked car yesterday. The team caught four errant motorists within 11/2 hours. Three were driving heavy vehicles and one, a mini bus.
The mini-bus driver swerved recklessly to switch lanes, causing a motorcyclist behind him to brake suddenly, while a lorry driver was caught for running a red light.
From January to September, SOT officers detected about 4,500 violations - a threefold increase compared with the same period last year.
The police have put the more effective enforcement down to their new 900cc "stealth bikes" that first hit the roads in May.
These bikes are more easily manoeuvred around heavy traffic to go after errant motorists, compared with unmarked cars.
Correction note: This article has been edited for clarity.