At least 600 people have lost their lives through motorcycles crashes from January to October 2019, the National Road Safety Authority (NRSA) has disclosed.
According to the NRSA, these deaths were due to indiscipline on the part of riders of commercial motorcycles, popularly known as “okada” as they fail to comply with road traffic regulations, disregard traffic lights.
Speaking at a stakeholder’s consultation organised by the Ghana Journalist Association (GJA) yesterday, in Accra, the Director of Planning and Programme Directorate at NRSA, Mr David Osafo Adonteng, said there was the need to take measures to avert deaths caused by motorcycle accidents.
The forum was to seek the opinions of members of GJA to either legalise motorcycles and tricycles for commercial purpose or maintain the ban as entrenched in the Regulation 128 of Legislative Instrument (L.I) 2180.
The L.I prohibits the use of motorcycles and three wheelers for commercial purposes, except for courier and delivery services.
Mr Adonteng said the okada business had become alarming with about 60, 000 bicycles registered by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) this year.
He was worried that, although the year had not come to end, the death toll of motorcycle riders had increased from 200 recorded in 2017.
Mr Adonteng said death through motorcycle clashes was contributing to about 30 per cent of death on our roads.
The Acting Chief Director from the Ministry of Transport, Mrs Mabel Sagoe, said most motorcycle riders had become nuisance, posing threat to pedestrians and other road users.
She said “what is often observed among these Okada riders are that they are indiscipline, lawless, meander through traffic and run through red light.”
Mrs Sagoe has observed that Okada operations have crept silently into mainstream transportation system.
“The ministry is informed that there are some riders from neighbouring countries, who are also engaged in this business”, she said.
President of the GJA, Mr Affail Monney, said although motorcycle crashes were becoming alarming, the business had provided employment to the teeming unemployed, especially the youth.
BY BERNARD BENGHAN