Mosquito bike tragedy: Woman driver still traumatised

Ahmad Fairuz Othman

JOHOR BARU: THE family of the 22-year- old woman, who drove a car that ploughed into a group of young cyclists and killing eight of them on Saturday, has requested for privacy.

The woman is recovering from shock even though the crash occurred four days ago.

Johor Baru Selatan district police chief Assistant Commissioner Sulaiman Salleh said since the woman was released on police bail a day after the horrific crash, her family requested that she be kept away from the public.

“Her family requested for help from police because they do not want her to be disturbed and she is still in shock. We have assured them of privacy.

“We cannot reveal her identity or her whereabouts, unless she decides to face the public,” Sulaiman told the New Straits Times yesterday.

Eight teenagers were killed and another eight injured when the Nissan Almera driven by the woman ploughed into a group of 30 to 40 cyclists at the Inner Ring Road here at 3am on Saturday.

She was detained for questioning under Section 41(1) of the Road Transport Act 1987 for reckless driving leading to death, and was released on police bail on Sunday.

Police dismissed claims that she was intoxicated or was using a handphone while she was behind the wheel.

“The investigation covers all angles and we cannot be certain if the woman is in the wrong. The public should stop speculating.

“Accidents happen because of negligence and carelessness.”

Sulaiman said the scope of police investigations not only covered the driver, but also possible negligence on the part of the victims’ parents and whether the cyclists, who were between 13 and 17, had adhered to traffic rules.

“I blame neither the cyclists nor their parents.

“But as guardians, they should have monitored their children’s whereabouts.

“Such cases could lead to an offence under Section 33 of the Child Act 2001 for allowing children to be without proper supervision.”

Another aspect was the fact that the bicycles were modified and did not follow permitted specifications.

He said police were looking into whether the cyclists had adhered to regulations in Part 3 of the Highway Code, which outlines safety guidelines for cyclists on public roads.

Sulaiman said whether speeding was a factor in the crash had yet to be determined.

He said despite a 50kph speed limit signboard near the accident site, which is a hilly stretch near an exit and entry road of the highway, it was questionable whether motorists adhered to the speed limit.

Sulaiman said agencies such as the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS) and Public Works Department were cooperating with police to determine whether there were sufficient lighting at the accident site.

“The safety aspects of the vehicles involved are being checked by the Computerised Vehicle Inspection Centre, Road Transport Department and Chemistry Department,” he said.

© New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd