Exceptional! Chiang Mai’s Maejo University (MJU) has earned praise as a model educational institute for succeeding in getting all of its motorcycle-riding students to wear helmets.
MJU’s safe riding campaign has encompassed over 10,000 students per year on its campus over the past five years.
In 2012 only 30 per cent of MJU students wore helmets while riding motorbikes. That figure rose to 100 per cent in 2017.
As a result, road-accident deaths among students and school personnel dropped a staggering 73 per cent, while injuries plunged by 92 per cent.
The figures underline one thing: Safe-riding campaigns alone are not enough to lower the number of motorcycle riders killed each week on our roads – the second-deadliest in the world. The carnage will continue until we have proper enforcement of traffic regulations plus safety awareness among the public.
Many motorcyclists still take a “mai pen rai” attitude to wearing a helmet. Protective headgear is a secondary issue because they think they will never get into a motorbike accident. They might argue they only ride short distances in their own neighbourhoods, rarely on main roads, that they are always in a hurry, that helmets are uncomfortable to wear, and that police don’t patrol the routes they take. Now consider the countless number of such riders who have died in road accidents.
The startling success of MJU’s campaign makes it a valuable model for a national road-safety programme.
The World Health Organisation reports that 48 motorcyclists are killed on Thai roads each day on average.
Change motorcyclists’ beliefs, get them all wearing helmets, and thousands of lives would likely be saved each year.