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Phuket Opinion: A lethal combination

Readers may or may not have noticed that there’s a new bike on the roads here in Thailand. Well it’s not exactly new, it was actually launched in Thailand back in 2015, but it is certainly gaining popularity here and you can see a growing number of them on the roads on any given day.

opinion, transport, accidents, death, culture,

The Phuket News

Sunday 7 May 2017, 09:00AM

Phuket rescue workers attend to a victim of an accident involving a Yahama M-Slaz motorbike, which is has become a lethal attraction for young riders. Photo: Eakkapop Thongtub
Phuket rescue workers attend to a victim of an accident involving a Yahama M-Slaz motorbike, which is has become a lethal attraction for young riders. Photo: Eakkapop Thongtub

The bike, which is quite a nice looking piece of machinery if you’re into that kind of thing, has a engine of only 149 cubic centimetres. Nevertheless, many Thai news reports prefer to class it a “big bike”. Any two-wheeled machine with an engine of 149cc is far from a big bike to any Western big bike fan. So now you may be wondering, “Where are you heading with this?”

You also might be wondering why we’ve referred to how Thai media might report on this bike.

The answer is simple, because in recent months this bike, the Yamaha M-Slaz, has been making the news. Not only the news, but in the very latest incident, the headlines.

Yes, it is sad to say that this bike has been in the news in recent months because the riders of the said bike have been involved in accidents – yep, big surprise there, motorbike accidents in Phuket – with several resulting in the deaths of the riders.

In fact, in the past eight weeks alone, The Phuket News has reported four accidents involving a Yamaha M-Slaz, and there could well be some accidents involving a Yamaha M-Slaz that have gone under the radar that not made it to the news.

But an even more glaring factor in each of these four stories, beyond the fact that they all involve a Yamaha M-Slaz, is that in every incident the rider of the bike in question has been a Thai male aged between 18-25.

Now The Phuket News is in no way saying that these accidents are due to the bike itself. What we are pointing out, however, is the combination of youth-targeted design and marketing on behalf of the manufacturer, and overconfidence and youthful recklessness on the part of the rider, that has created a lethal cocktail on our roads.

Given that people are free to buy any bike they can afford, and that more young riders join us on the road every day, it seems like there is little that can be done to prevent more of these predictable, but statistically inevitable accidents. Except perhaps giving Yamaha M-Slaz riders as wide a berth as possible on the roads when you see them.



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Capt B | 07 May 2017 - 22:12:59

It is nothing to do with the bike. It is in fact the idiots riding them. Most of them are probably speeding off their heads on methamphetamine which is one of Thailand's biggest problems. Apart from that, no-helmets, most of the idiots don't even have a driving licence. In the late 70's early 80's, I used to ride a bike all over the island, no traffic, no problems. Now, I drive in a Cage here & there is no way I'd get on a bike here anymore. In the land of the Spring Loaded Rat (the country that Julia Gillard & the 4 x Over the Legal Alcohol limit Convicted Drunk Driver Living in The Lodge butchered), I keep a Suzuki Hayabusa with a 1580 Big Block Stroker Motor in it. Great for the highway with more torque than a V Twin Marly Waverson. 
It doesn't matter how good a rider one thinks one is here, sooner or later, you'll come unstuck. The road is not a race track, but most of them treat it that way. When changing lanes on the road here, it doesn't matter if you look in your side rear-view mirror, because, a split second later, one of those screeming demons will go belting past at high speed between traffic.
Apart from the fact that I'd like to see mandatory jail sentences for all drunk drivers on Thai roads, I'd also like to see mandatory drug (methamphetamine & alcohol) tests for ALL drivers involved in motor accidents here.
It is just not fair to the Thai people in Phuket to have these idiots on the road that treat it as a race track.

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malczx7r | 07 May 2017 - 09:16:59

I'd have to disagree, there's loads that could be done, what you actually mean is nothing will be done because it involves certain servants of the country to go out and do something!
Had an asshole lorry driver tailgating me by a few feet this morning coming back from the airport, had to touch the brakes in order to make him leave a gap , probably didn't like it because i'd left a 30 metre gap in front of me to the next vehicle and wanted to be there!

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Discover Thainess | 07 May 2017 - 08:57:09

Strangely we were just talking about this very subject last night. Of course the answer is rider training before these kids are allowed out onto the roads but that's a can of worms as we know. 

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