The Ghanaian Times stands to be corrected if the ban on the use of motorcycles for fare-paying operations have been lifted otherwise this paper knows that such operations have been outlawed in the country under Regulation 128 (subsections 1- 4) of Road Traffic Regulations 2012.
In fact, Regulation 128 states among other issues that “The licensing authority shall not register a motorcycle to carry a fare-paying passenger.”
However, all over the country, we find both the two-wheel and the three-wheel motor-cycles, otherwise known as tricycle or Prygia or aboboyaa locally, being used for commercial transportation of people and goods; Prygia for carrying passengers and aboboyaa for goods.
If all is going well, the motor-cycle commercial transportation described as okada should be acceptable for some good reasons.
It is fast and cheaper compared to other means of transport such as taxi or trotro, as well as being a source of employment for the riders.
However the okada riders’ disregard for traffic regulations and other acts of recklessness or rascality makes highly imperative that if the ban would not hold, then there must be a way or two to check these riders.
This is why the introduction of the ‘Police Action Against Rider Indiscipline (Operation PAARI)’ to deal with indiscipline among motor riders on the roads is highly welcome.
The police say the operation would be run in various ways cramped into two phases.
They state that the first phase has already been rolled out and involves the deployment of teams of police riders with body cameras to monitor the conduct of riders at major intersections and other strategic locations.
The teams will follow offending riders and arrest them at convenient and safe locations and such riders would be prosecuted, named and shamed.
Naming and shaming doesn’t work in Ghana so other forms of punishments or sanctions must rather be adopted such as banning the rider for a period or for life and impounding the motor-cycles or confiscating them to the State.
Every citizen should support Operation PAARI to succeed because since motorcycles became commercialised by way of carrying goods and passengers, the riders have come to worsen road indiscipline and increased road crashes and related fatalities and injuries.
These riders are involved in all manner of acts of rascality and impunity such as unsafe or unauthorised parking, unsafe overtaking, riding on the shoulders of the road and pedestrian lanes, riding through red lights and non-wearing of crash helmet, as well as not providing their pillion riders helmets.
All these cause accidents and non-wearing of crash helmets have the high risk of the rider or the pillion riders dying instantly or suffering serious head injuries in case of a crash.
Looking at the statistics with regard to road crashes involving the motor-cycles, Operation PAARI must favour any rider.
Statistics from the Motor Traffic and Transport Department(MTTD) of the Ghana Police Service covering the period January to October 2021, indicate that there were 5,052 motor crashes among 13,244 road crashes and that the motor-cycle accidents resulted in 1,036 deaths and 3,938 injuries.
It is also on record that there was a total of 2,839 motorcycle crashes in 2017 nationwide and that from 2014 to 2016, motorcycle fatalities stood at 1,116, which represented 19.5 percent of 5,722 road crashes within the period.
Ghanaians have the habit of rubbishing laws, regulations, operations and other initiatives meant to check impunity in the country.
Therefore, Operation PAARI should also arrest pillion riders who do not wear crash helmets and those who allow themselves to be overloaded.
It is common in Kasoa and Bawjiase areas, for instance, to see three people riding on a two-wheel motor-cycle and one wonders if the police arrest them.
The Ghanaian Times thanks the police for the introduction of Operation PAARI and encourage them to do all they can to make it bite to ensure sanity in the system.