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First Samui Road Safety Meeting takes place in Maenam

On Saturday the 19th of July the first road safety campaign meeting took place at 5pm at the Café Talay in Maenam. Many concerned residents went along to formally identify the problems faced by drivers in Koh Samui and attempt to come up with some long term solutions.
The group, who have informally named themselves RAK – Road Safety Kampaign started off by documenting what they see as the problems in Samui.

Reasons for the current accident rates

Traffic regulations

RAK 1On Koh Samui traffic rules are only occasionally implemented by the police. Many drivers ignore or do not know basic traffic rules. Most common are the following aspects:

Drivers on motorbikes do not wear helmets

Driving without a licence

Driving without insurance

Driving vehicles without of lights

Young children driving motorbikes

Drunk driving

Speeding

Drug Abuse

Ignoring red traffic lights

Drivers using mobiles phones while they are driving

Single handed driving on motorbikes while holding a child in the other

Driving out of a junction without looking for oncoming traffic

Driving on the wrong side of the road

Overtaking in populated areas, at high speed and without of respect for turning vehicles

Parking vehicles in no parking areas and close to junctions

Education

Tourists as well as many locals are not aware of the dangers of driving on Samui. They are unprepared and underestimate the level of attention that is required to drive safely on the Island.

Lack of traffic-education in the local community

Misunderstanding the meaning of flashing headlights

Inexperience of tourists on the roads

RAK 2Road Conditions

Many accidents happen due to the road conditions on Samui.

Heavy vehicles are causing severe damage, as their respective weight does not match the quality of the roads.

Potholes and uncovered drainage systems contribute to drivers losing control of their vehicles, same as:

Insufficient streetlights and road marks

Sand and various objects on the road

Uneven drain levels

Dogs running onto the road

Severe road damages especially in the north of the island

Public Transport

It is – especially at night time – difficult, if not impossible, to hire a taxi at reasonable rates, which promotes drunk driving.

Public transport insufficient

Taxis at proper rates are not available

Ideas then turned to possible solutions

Traffic regulations

Fashionable helmets for kids

Bike rental quality check

Round the clock traffic controls by the police and civil officers

Speed guns for the police

Reward system for minibus drivers who drive carefully

Education

Information for tourists: safety cards and information flyers

Stickers with emergency numbers for tourists

Stickers with emergency numbers at the doors of every 7eleven or Family Mart on the island

Education on driving safely in schools for children and their parents

Road Conditions

Speed bumps

Installation and maintenance of traffic lights at notoriously dangerous spots

Finish building the new ring road

Improvement of streetlights and clearly marked roads

Regular street cleaning and removal of possible hazards

Public Transport

Enforcement of using taxi metres

Free transport for children

Voucher system for hotels: Transport vouchers

Minibus service around the island

No unlimited influx of private vehicles on the island

And finally a to do list was drawn up called What can we do?

RAK 3Pressure on the authorities – public campaign

We plan to run a public campaign in various newspapers and online portals.

The Samui Times and Der Farang will publish articles on the problem.

Further steps:

Convince the Samui Channel and Bangkok Airways to cooperate.

Contact various hotels to support and sponsor the campaign – List of recommended places and free advertisement.

Contact the major, the police, the tourist police, Samui Rescue and TAC. We would appreciate, if some representatives would attend one of our meetings in the near future and share their ideas with us.

Information and education

We will create flyers and safety cards for tourists in English, Russian and German. Other languages are to follow.

A special Facebook page will be set up in order to provide information about Samui roads and to collect evidence on accidents.

Further steps:

Design and production of stickers containing emergency numbers for mobile phones and the local convenience stores.

We want to create a logo for the campaign and agreed, that the name and the logo need to be clear and understandable both for Pharangs and Thais. The name will be “RAK – Road Awareness Kampaign”

“Rak” is the Thai word for “to love”. We agreed that it is easy to memorize, which is essential for the success of the campaign within the Thai community. There is a spelling mistake in the word “Campaign”. This was done on purpose, as in our opinion a “k” is more catchy than a “c” concerning visual aspects.

We thought that it might be a good idea to connect the word “RAK” to the image of a heart.

The Next meeting of RAK will take place on Saturday the 2nd of August at 2pm at Café Talay in Maenam, everybody is welcome to join.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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