Okada boom and its risks at xmas

UNDOUBTEDLY, okada as referred to motorbikes used for commercial business including carrying people for a fee, has become an integral part of our transportation system, though their operations are illegal.

Using motorbike for commercial purposes has permeated into our transport system through what can be termed “neighbouring influence.” They are common mode of transport in neighbouring countries like Togo, Burkina Faso, Benin, and Nigeria. Indeed, the word “Okada” is Nigerian.

Locally, Okada services are widely available in both our cities and rural communities where they are used to connect the main roads to difficult-to access and unmotorable hamlets and farmlands.

They are “usually” the preferred mode of transport in the cities during rush hours when traffic is at its peak; daring riders use them to jump the traffic jam! The okada business is booming and at the same time becoming a nuisance to motorist and pedestrians who become victims of knock down, as a result of recklessness.

As to how okada has become a flourishing business in Ghana, albeit, illegal is what is baffling us at the Ghanaian Times. The law enforcement agencies owe us an explanation. The increase in the okada trade suggests that the law enforcers may have given up on implementing the law.

With Xmas approaching, the okada business is flourishing, as people patronise them into and out of city centres to conduct their businesses and return home in no time.

The danger though is that some of the motorbikes are not registered, some do not use the required helmet, there are allegations of some stolen motorbikes being used as okada, others do not have appropriate license A for motor riding while some riders are reckless on the roads.

Besides, they do not respect traffic regulations; they jump traffic lights with impunity, they park to block other road users and ride on walkways and pavements to the detriment of pedestrians.

 

Our fear is that passenger on okada face danger and accidents may occur as the riders hurry to maximise profit.

Giventhese circumstances, we would therefore, encourage people not to patronise the services of these okada riders, no matter how quickly or fast we want the journey to be.

Our concern is the safety of society. It is our priority and we shall always draw attention of policymakers and law enforcers to issues of public concern for redress.

We hasten to remind the public that okada business is illegal and comes with lots of risk to both the service provider and the client.

Indeed, the Road Traffic regulations 2012, Legislative Instrument 2180 states in section 128 (1) that “the licensing authority shall not register a motorcycle to carry a fare-paying passenger.”  Section 128(3) goes on to state “a person shall not ride on a motorcycle as a paying passenger.” While section 128 (4) provides that “a person who contravenes sub-regulations (1) (2) or (3) commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not more than 25  penalty units or to a term of imprisonment of not more than 30 days.”

With this available piece of legislation, we encourage the public to desist from the use of the services of okada; with a lot of caution while we urge the law enforcers to act swiftly to protect public safety!

 

 

 

 

 

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