Children without Helmets, Parents Begging for a Slap

Members of a family wear face masks, as a preventive measure against the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, as they ride their motorcycle along a street in Phnom Penh on April 28, 2020. (Photo: AFP)

Before and after school, traffic suddenly swells in Phnom Penh due to thousands of motorcycles. It is not unusual to see some motorcycles carrying three if not four persons.

A few days ago, along a major boulevard, I came across one going rather fast with two adults and, between them, two children in school uniforms with caps jammed on their heads.

So what, you might say. These were simply parents taking their two children to school on their moto: What’s the problem? Fine. Let’s consider normal to be four on a motorcycle designed for two persons. But are we going to say it’s normal to only have the two adults wearing helmets? Which means that, if there is an accident, the most exposed will be the children who will face aggravated risks of injuries due to the fragility of their bone structure. 

We can assume that the driver of that motorcycle does not believe that an accident could happen. He would no doubt say if you raised the issue with him: “I am a very good driver. The proof: I’ve never had an accident!” An utterly idiotic response. Or maybe he would argue that he drives with extreme caution when he transports his children because he is a good father who loves them.  We could reply that one may wonder whether he is a loving father since he is exposing his children to such great danger by having them ride on his motorcycle without helmets.  

One evening near the river, I saw a young couple on a motorcycle with their 4-or-5 years old girl standing up between them, her hair blowing in the wind. Parents wearing helmets but not the little girl. They were leisurely driving, obviously enjoying this family ride. I suppose that they went back home unscathed and will do this again. Accidents only happen to others, don’t they. 

To others and to idiots who believe that this only happens to others.

Let’s remind them to make them think about this—unless their arrogance is such that this will not stop them—that statistics speak loud and clear: Motorcyclists represent the overwhelming majority of the victims of traffic accidents.

Having a child without a helmet on a motorcycle does not do credit to the adult who is driving. Not only is he abusing his trust and making him take foolhardy risks, but also he is teaching him road safety in the worst possible way. 

If there was a parent license, it would immediately be revoked. Since such license does not exist, I suggest confiscating his motorcycle.



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