Friday October 22, 2010
ATVs terrorising Batu Ferringhi beach
Stories and photos by EDMUND NGO
TOURISTS staying in Batu Ferringhi beach hotels in Penang now fear for their safety when venturing out in the evening.
All-terrain vehicles or ATVs, most without headlights, have been spotted speeding along the 3km beach frightening tourists and locals alike.
British retiree Tony Judge, 57, a first timer to Penang, said he had seen ATVs rolling over and the rider narrowly escaping injury.
“The ATV operator should ensure that his customers have safety gear on before be- ing allowed to operate the machine.
“The machine should also be operated in a controlled environment and not the whole stretch of the beach,” he told The Star yesterday.
His wife, Annie, 57, said the ATVs were terrorising the beach, especially with its loud noise and foul fumes that were detrimental to health.
“If I had grandchildren, I would not bring them here as it is too dangerous for them to even walk along the beach.”
Australian Allison Kingston, 65, who has been coming to Penang every year for the past 25 years, said she had never tried any of the water-sport activities due to a lack of safety measures by the operators.
She added that these operators were not licensed and her travel insurance would be nullified if any accident were to happen.
Her husband, Don Kingston, 65, lamented that the horses along the beach were a sore sight as many of them were limping, adding the animals were not provided with proper horseshoes.
He claimed that most of them were previously racing horses and he had seen a German woman falling down after the horse bolted off suddenly.
Kingston suggested that the operators change to donkeys or remove the attraction altogether.
Another British tourist, Alan Curtis, 58, felt that the beach touts were tarnishing the reputation of Penang as a tourist destination.
“Why go after pirated DVD vendors, who do not threaten public safety, but not these operators?” he asked.
The group later proceeded to write their comments in the state government’s online poll seeking feedback on beach activities. They hoped that more proactive measures can be taken by the authorities.
State Local Government and Traffic Management Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said the Penang Municipal Council and police would monitor the situation, adding that the state would decide on the beach activities after the online poll, launched on Sept 24, ends on Oct 31.
The can be accessed at www.mppp.gov.my.