Ghana, from January to October 2019, has recorded 589 deaths through motorcycle accidents, a figure likely to increase by the close of the year if the laws were not strictly enforced.
Mr David Osafo Adonteng, the Director, Planning and Programme, National Road Safety Commission, said the figures had been increasing since 2010, which recorded 310 deaths.
Mr Adonteng said this at a consultative meeting by the Ministry of Transport and the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) on whether to ban or legalise the use of motorcycles and tricycles for commercial purposes.
He said statistics show that about 60,000 motorbikes were registered by the Driver and Vehicle Lincensing Authority (DVLA) in 2017, a majority of which were used for commercial purposes, also known as “Okada.”
He said the Okada business was growing at a faster rate hence the need for such consultative engagements to plan the way forward.
“This business has its own benefits and challenges and the issues must be considered without any personal sentiments,” he said.
Mrs Mabel Sagoe, the Acting Chief Director of the Ministry of Transport, said the use of motorcycles and tricycles for commercial purposes in the country was against the Road Traffic Regulations.
However, efforts were being made to enforce Regulation 128, which prohibits the practice, she said.
She said the manoeuvring capabilities of the riders made it difficult for the Police to apprehend them adding that to distinguish between Okada riders and private users had equally been a challenge.
Mrs Sagoe said most Okada riders were indisciplined and lawless, meandering through traffic and running through red lights.
In spite of these challenges, research has shown that the commercial motorcycles were, in some cases, the only means of transport for some communities, serving as a means of employment, Mrs Sagoe said.
She encouraged the participants to be proactive in their deliberations and come up with workable ideas to address the issue.
Mr Roland Affail Monney, the President of the GJA, said the high figures of fatalities recorded leaves the nation with the dilemma as to whether or not to legalize their operations.
“We must be logical and face the realities in our decisions as a nation because Okada serves and Okada is a killer,” he said.
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