Recklessness of Lagos keke and okada riders
Sir: The reckless and lawless behaviours of commercial tricycle and motorcycle riders on the roads in Lagos would make one conclude that they are either highhanded or above the law. They operate as if traffic laws were made for other road users and not for them. They now ply routes where they have been prohibited from without any fear of arrest. They compete with heavy duty trucks, high-capacity vehicles on the highways and even on BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) lanes.
One major challenge the BRT drivers face daily when on the wheel in their dedicated lanes is the problem created by the motorcyclists riding recklessly on BRT corridors. These motorcyclists overspeed and even overtake BRT buses on the lanes assigned for BRT.
On the 22nd of March, 2021, at about 8 p.m., a nursing mother with her baby escaped death by the whiskers while on a motorbike at Fagba intersection, along Iju road in Lagos. Officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) were on ground to rescue the woman and her baby. The victims were lucky to have only sustained minor injuries and were moved to a nearby hospital for First Aid treatment and attention.
The motorbike operator that carried the woman alongside her baby, actually ran through the traffic red light and disobeyed traffic managers operating manually. In the process, he ran into oncoming vehicle from Jonathan Coker road to connect Iju road through the intersection. The rider was then trapped by a vehicle in the opposite direction. LASTMA officers on ground rushed to save the lives of the baby and that of the mother; they didn’t hurry to apprehend the erring motorcyclist.
These commercial motorcycles and tricycle operators are also known to quickly mobilise and repel any attempt by law enforcement agents to arrest them. In fact, they resort to vandalizing public properties and anything that indicates ownership by government at every excuse. This rescue by LASTMA officers brings to fore the need for motorcyclists and the three-wheel riders to obey traffic laws and regulations at all times in order to prevent needless crashes or deaths. If the LASTMA men at the Iju intersection that day had dashed to apprehend the traffic offender first, the woman and her baby might not have been lucky to be alive today.
In all, safety of life is paramount, and cannot be negotiated or substituted for early arrival at one’s destination.
Passengers on board bikes and motorcycles are also duty-bound to caution their riders at every given point when they appear to be riding outside what the traffic laws stipulate. Riders of motorcycles and tricycles should learn patience and ensure they always adhere to traffic laws even when they are in haste in the overall interest of saving lives.
• Kayode Ojewale is of the Public Affairs Unit of LASTMA.