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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Safety advocates want helmet law for all

Safety advocates want helmet law for all

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A column of motorcycles and tuk-tuks prepares to depart from the Hotel Cambodiana yesterday for a ride organised to promote the use of helmets. Photograph: Pha Lina/Phnom Penh Post

It is common to see as many as four people on a motorbike weaving through Phnom Penh traffic, with only the driver wearing a helmet.

But backers of a plan to broaden the scope of the 2007 traffic law by making it mandatory for all passengers, including children, to don a helmet say the status quo is a recipe for road disaster.

“We appeal to the government for swift enactment and strict enforcement of the draft legislation,” Mirjam Sidik, executive director of the Asia Injury Prevention Foundation, said yesterday during a forum at the Hotel Cambodiana.

“Helmets are simple, inexpensive, and highly effective against serious head injuries on the road,” Sidik said, calling it “a safeguard for Cam-bodia’s future”.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A scout holds a sign yesterday encouraging motorbike riders and passengers to wear helmets and drive safely. Photograph: Sreng Meng Srun/Phnom Penh Post

An amendment to the 2007 law requiring all passengers to wear helmets was finalised last year, but is awaiting  ministerial approval.

“It is [the government’s] priority to educate the public on the importance of [wearing] a helmet,” Chan Kimseng, director of the central department of public order for the Ministry of Interior, said.

He appealed to the public to practise road safety, but did not specify when the amendment to the law would pass.

The AIP Foundation also launched educational initiatives to promote traffic safety and helmet use. These inclu-ded plans to donate helmets to schoolchildren and run road-safety workshops.

Motorbike enthusiasts also called for more action to help promote helmet use.

“Our bikers always wear full protective gear, but the most important protection is our helmet,” Khor Woh Hock, president of the Cambodia Bikers Club, said.

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