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Retired Police Officer Proposes Training For Okada Operators

Ghana should consider offering road safety training to commercial motorbike riders to save lives, a former head of the Police Motor Transport and Traffic Division (MTTD), ACP Victor Tandoh, has said.

According to the retired police officer, the move has become necessary now given the disturbing rise in road accidents involving commercial motorcycles locally known as Okadas.

“Today, it (Okada activity) appears to have taken root. What is disturbing about it is that previously at the end of the year when the National Road Safety Commission and police compile statistics on accidents involving motorbikes, the figures were very small. But computations for last year showed there were more than 2000 accidents involving motorbikes,” Mr Tandoh told host Chief Jerry Forson on Ghana Yensom on Accra100.5FM.

He said such accidents had resulted in injuries and the loss of limbs, lives, possessions, and livelihoods.

Motorbike transport, a more popular form of commute in neighbouring Togo, Benin, and Nigeria, has caught on with Ghanaians mainly for its relative affordability and ability to ease through heavy traffic and get passengers to their destinations on time.

Okada services remain illegal in the country and riders have been associated with other infractions such as the use of unlicensed motorbikes, riding without helmets, jumping traffic lights, riding on pavements, and crime.

Mr Tandoh added that police have had a difficult time dealing with okada operators and “with the situation getting out of hand”, the approach should shift from getting commercial motorbike operators arrested to mobilising them and being trained on road safety.

“So, with this situation on our hands, what I will plead is that we mobilise them, let’s train them, let’s educate them on how to protect their own lives and those of others’, how to operate within the law, how to prevent accidents so we can allow them to operate because the problem they present is great and if we are unable to put in measures and offer them training, the problems will be even greater,” he suggested.

Mr Tandoh, however, warned that okada operations should not be legalised as it would result in motorbikes “flooding the streets” and impeding the movement of not just vehicles but pedestrians.

Source: Ghana/AccraFM.com

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