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Open Access Research article

Socio-demographic and behavioural characteristics of illegal motorcycle street racers in Malaysia

Li Ping Wong

Author Affiliations

Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, 50603, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Julius Centre University of Malaya (JCUM), Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Centre of Population Health (CePH), University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

BMC Public Health 2011, 11:446  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-446

Published: 8 June 2011

Abstract

Background

This study sought to understand the factors associated with street racing among the illegal motorcycle racers in Malaysia or known as the "Mat Rempit".

Methods

Street outreach interviewer-administered surveys were conducted from June 2008 to January 2009 in this multi-state study.

Results

A total of 2022 participants were surveyed, the mean ± SD age of the participants was 20.5 ± 3.4 years (age range: 12 to 35 years). Mean duration of street racing was 2.65(SD ± 1.77) years (range: 2 months to 12 years), with 50.1% and 35.8% reporting stunt riding and alcohol drinking while racing, respectively. With regard to risk behaviours, cigarette smoking was highly prevalent among the study participants (78.3%), followed by alcohol drinking (27.8%) and recreational drug use (18.8%). Participants scored high on the masculinity scale (15.7 ± 4.0 out of 21.0). The results of the logistic regression analysis showed that socio-demographic variables, risk behaviour and masculinity scores were associated with racing frequency.

Conclusion

Given these associations, tailoring family-centered interventions to the needs of the lower socio-economic groups and interventions recognizing the negative consequences of health risk behaviours related to street racing as an expression of traditional masculinity should be emphasized.