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
Drivers on motorbikes do not wear helmets
Driving without a licence
Driving without insurance
Driving vehicles without of lights
Young children driving motorbikes
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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?
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.
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.
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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