Malaysia: 8 teenage cyclists dead, several injured in car accident

The driver says the teenagers were in the middle of the road that was quite dark in the early hours.

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At least eight teenage cyclists died and another eight were injured after a car rammed into them while they were cycling on Saturday early morning in Johor Baru, Malaysia. The car was driven by a 22-year-old woman. Johor Baru South OCPD Asst Comm Police Sulaiman Salleh said six of the casualties were killed on the spot, while two passed away on their way to Hospital Sultanah Aminah. He added that two of the injured cyclists are in critical condition. According to police reports, all the 16 cyclists are aged between 13 and 17.

ACP Sulaiman said the accident took place at about 3.30 am on Saturday near the Mahmoodiah Muslim cemetery. The driver said that the teenagers, who are believed to be members of a joyriding cycling group, were in the middle of the road that was quite dark at that time.

The Johor Education Department said it had information regarding the existence of such cycling groups. However, they were not aware of the numbers or why students joined them. "We want to reach out to these students and advise them to give up the habit of joyriding at night," Director Saharudin Sharif told Asia News Network. He said that several members of those cycling groups have reportedly made various modifications to their bicycles. Some of them have even removed their brakes which might lead to dangerous accidents.

"They normally travel in groups of 10 or more," Saharudin added.

On Saturday, Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar, the Johor Sultan, visited the families of the deceased at the mortuary. The teary-eyed sultan urged the families to monitor their children's whereabouts at all times. He requested them not to allow their children to roam the streets, especially during nighttime. "Don't let it come to a situation where we cry for our children instead of the other way around," the sultan said.

He added: "I myself have lost a son who will not return. I understand your feelings."