Saturday, May 19, 2007

Left-lane rule saves lives, police say

Saturday, February 03, 2007
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The numbers of road accidents involving motorcycles traveling on main roads in the city slightly increased in the last two months, while the number of accidents in designated motorcycle lanes decreased.

The trial of a new rule requiring motorcyclists to take the left lane on certain major roads began two months ago.

In December, police recorded 453 motorcycle accidents with 96 fatalities and 443 injuries in the designated left lanes, while in January there were 346 accidents with 69 deaths and 375 injuries.

"That means the number of accidents in designated left lanes dropped by 23.6 percent, or 107 cases," Jakarta Police traffic division chief Sr. Adj. Comr. Tomex Korniawan said Thursday.

However, the overall numbers of motorcycle accident fatalities increased over the same period. As many as 60 people were killed in motorcycle accidents in December, while in January, there were 67 deaths.

Korniawan said that from Dec. 16 to Jan. 7, there were 15 accidents involving motorcycles in the designated left lanes. Three people died and 20 others were injured.

In the three-week period following the implementation of the left-lane policy, eight people were injured in the designated left lanes of eight main roads but there were no deaths.

"There were 60 percent less accidents and no fatalities. I admit there are some flaws in the policy, but we'll improve things over time," Korniawan said.

He denied the claim police were only targeting motorcyclists in their attempt to reduce the accident rate.

Police recorded more than 58,000 traffic infractions in January and as many as 9,710 cases related to public transportation vehicles.

"Public transportation drivers are the biggest offenders, but private car owners are also guilty," Korniawan said

He said private vehicle owners committed 22,608 traffic infractions, 1,452 of which occurred in the busway lanes in Grogol and Daaan Mogot, West Jakarta, and Tugu Tani in Central Jakarta. (02)

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