The level of motorcyclist indiscipline on our, especially, urban roads and the accompanying injuries and even fatalities has risen recently, the reason for which is not far-fetched.
For some, such road users are unofficially exempted from obeying traffic regulations and so they can ride as they please across any part of the city they survey. That could be the reason motorcyclists do not respect traffic lights at intersections, some of them losing their lives through the imbecility.
One such recklessness near the Accra Mental Hospital saw the motorcyclist losing his life instantly when he ignored the red signal – and proceeded to meet his death; he was knocked down by an approaching vehicle which has the right of way.
The occasional clampdown on recalcitrant motorcyclists and commercial drivers is largely short-lived, not consistent because of the usual public outcry when the law enforcement agents get too hard-hearted.
We recall regrettably the unprecedented action taken by the police when John Kudalor was at the helm. He had in the countdown to the last general election ordered the law enforcement agents to cease checking motor vehicles ostensibly to stop the nuisance created by bad cops. A different reason was assigned by most Ghanaians for the action as the elections were too near for such strictness.
The remnant of the poisoned traffic environment originating from the unusual directive is still with us in the form of heightened indiscipline on our intra-urban roads and highways, not forgetting the accompanying fatalities.
We have taken notice of the directive from the Inspector General of Police a few days ago to all law enforcement formations across the country to rein in the undisciplined motorcyclists and motorists alike. We can only heave a sigh of relief hearing the order. Not for long though because it would not be long before things return to normal, suggesting restoration of the status quo: indiscipline coming to the front burner.
With the country now experiencing a seeming explosion of motorcycle riders – the regulations governing their use, which do not differ very much from other mechanized road users – must be enforced or restored. There has been a visible lull in the application of these regulations.
Motorcyclists can kill as much as cars do, therein therefore lies the importance of applying the regulations. Motorcyclists must be tested on their knowledge of road signs before they are given licences to ride because the sheer number of commercial motorcyclists in Accra alone is close to overwhelming.
Memories of the late ACP Awuni Angwubutoge have come flooding. It was he who ordered the impounding of motorcycles engaged in the commercial business (known as okada), but he was challenged by a politician – a regional minister who said that could affect the votes of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
It is our hope that the police would not be discouraged through undue interference by politicians to release suspects who breach the reactivated regulations.