Amid the long-standing effort to enforce helmet use in Cambodia, the National Road Safety Committee invited 600 motodops to the Cambodia-Japan Cooperation Centre yesterday morning to receive quality helmets and a lecture on the importance of helmet use on the road.
Though five people die on Cambodia’s roads each day, “helmet use is still low”, said Momoe Takeuchi, senior program management officer with the World Health Organisation, which hosted the event with support from Bloomberg Philanthropies.
“While 65 per cent of motorcycle drivers wear helmets, only 9 per cent was observed among passengers,” she said, adding that when traffic police stop patrolling in the evening, drivers tend to ditch their helmets.
Before distributing the free helmets, several new public service announcements were introduced that depicted young motorists receiving head injuries and fines while not wearing helmets, then showed what would have happened if they had worn protective headgear.
Another featured Prime Minister Hun Sen urging preventative measures while driving.
“Everyone has to wear helmets correctly. Any time, anywhere, short and long distances, both drivers and passengers,” he said. Brand-new blue and silver helmets were passed around to eager audience members waiting to try on the NRSC logo-clad gear. Many posed for pictures with their new helmets.
Takeuchi noted that even if motorists are wearing helmets, quality is important so the skull can be protected upon impact.
Dr Ratnak Sao of the WHO’s road safety program also said legislation requiring helmets on passengers was “in the process of getting approval”.