HUMAN LIVES AT THE MERCY OF “OKADA” RIDERS.
Commercial motorcyclists of Klikor and Agbozume in the Ketu South Municipality of the Volta Region do not seem to value human lives.
The activities of the commercial users of motorcycles, popularly called “Okada”, riders leave much to be desired. These okada riders convey persons to and from places in and around Klikor and Agbozume. This business is alarmingly becoming new “galamsey”. The okada business, which is actually illegal in this country has become normal work, for most of the youths especially the unemployed. It is now their major means of making ends meet in the Klikor and Agbozume traditional Areas.
Most of these motorists, ride at top speeds and hit pedestrians especially on our feeder roads which are very deplorable in nature.
Some of these riders even use unregistered motorbikes. This is very dangerous. Its illegality aside, it puts not only the riders at risk but also the lives of their passengers and other road users, women and children in particular.
Legally, okada is not recognised as a decent paying job for those making a living out of it as some okada business owners do not have the prerequisite business license to operate, motor riding license, road worthiness certificate of their bikes, motor insurance let alone ownership documents on the whole.
Despite the fact that okada in Ghana has been helpful in conveying persons and goods to and from locations where vehicles could not go, riders seem to have no value for human lives considering the manner in which they ride. The worst case is that most cannot read and understand the road signs, let alone observe them.
Speaking to some of them, I discovered that they even do not have any association. Some said they once formed a union but it is no more in existence so they work on their own.
In an interview, with the Assemblyman for the Klikor Electoral Area, Hon. Ignatius Kofi Futukpor, he said “It has been a headache for us because this motor thing is illegal but because of the high rate of unemployment, most residents support it. But our brothers are not riding the motorbikes well. They just ride anyhow on our roads……..
He added, “We always call the police to talk to the Okada riders but okada accident is increasing each day. Healthcare centres are full with motorbike accident victims. We will soon call a meeting for all okada riders and associates so that a lasting solution will be sought for this reckless riding…”, he concluded.
Further investigations have indicated that because of the reckless riding of motorcycles in the towns, speed rumps have been made about one hundred metres on the stretch of every road to reduce the speed and the recklessness thereof, but all to no avail.