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Phuket City motorcycle taxi riders at today's safety education meeting

Phuket Helmet Safety Push Begins With 'Red Shirts'

Tuesday, May 18, 2010
PHUKET'S red shirts are different to those in Bangkok. The Phuket red shirts went home after a meeting in Phuket City today.

About 650 motosai rabjang, (motorcycle taxi riders) who wear red vests to signify how they earn their living, gathered at Phuket Wittayalai High School to be told the importance of wearing helmets and setting a good example for other motorcycle riders on the island.

But the riders are under financial pressure to support public safety, even though it may cost them some income.

Phuket's Chief of Police, Major General Pekad Tantipong,said that up to 70 percent of fatalities on Phuket involved people who did not wear helmets.

''We aim to change the attitudes,'' he said, ''and to save more lives.'' From April 19, police had begun sending letters to government authorities and schools, telling people that a crackdown is coming for motorcycle riders.

From July 1, both riders and pillion passengers will be expected to wear helmets. This is one of the reasons why the motorcycle taxi riders were told today that they can collect free helmets from their Phuket City police station.

The campaign will begin in Phuket City and spread to other parts of the island. Private companies and the Commercial Office have given 2500 helmets to police to distribute.

''Every month at least three people die in Phuket City alone because they are not wearing helmets,'' Major General Pekad said. An average of about 15 people die every month on the island in road crashes, mostly involving motorcycles.

One motorcycle taxi rider, Poonrat Cheaju, said she operated from the Nimit Circle taxi stand on Yaowarat Road and could make 400 to 500 baht a day, but that was before the economic downturn. Ten people at the stand also did equally well.

Now there were just three taxi riders at the stand, she said. Their income had been cut to 100 to 200 baht because more people in Phuket City were using the city buses, she said. Others had their own transport.

''This project is very good but it will take some persuading to convince all people to wear a helmet.

''Some people have yet to hear about the campaign. Others will ask 'How many people have worn this dirty helmet'?''

Some people will learn to carry a plastic head-cover so they have protection from the helmet, she said. But it will all take time.

It is the riders who face a 1000 baht fine if their customers do not wear helmets.

''The danger is that we will lose even more money if we say we will not give rides to people without helmets,'' she said. Passengers will be fined, too . . . but their fine will be 500 baht.

Phuketwan supports the Mothers or Motorcycles (MoM) action group that aims to have 100 percent of riders and passengers wearing helmets.
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Comments

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The GRUMPY OLD MENS' CLUB supports the campaign especially for children, they have been campaigning for a while now and are working on support from various motorcycle dealers here on Phuket.

I support a ROAD SAFETY CAMPAIGN FOR SCHOOLS....starting in all schools including junior schools. I hope they start asap....Sooner the Better....reap what you sow.....

Posted by J D on May 18, 2010 16:48

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This is great news,finaly the goverment and police are taking this seriously.The taxi riders that wear helmets and supply them will get more costumers. People will feel more safe with them.

As I have said before start early, get into the schools. Even take them to the hospitals, so they can see what happens when you don't wear a helmet.You have to start somewhere.

Monica (Shane's Mum) We support MOM

Posted by Monica on May 19, 2010 03:16


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