Thu | Feb 9, 2023

Letter of the Day | Force motorcyclists to obey rules to reduce fatalities

Published:Saturday | December 3, 2022 | 12:07 AM


A large percentage of the number of road fatalities involves motorcyclists. The logical thing to do to reduce the numbers, therefore, would be to focus attention on the motorcycles on our roads.

Upwards of 90 per cent of motorcycles are either unlicensed, unregistered, or uninsured. In most cases they are all of the above, plus, the rider, more than often, does not have the requisite permit to operate the motorcycle. Add to that the fact that (a) a lot of these motorcycles have had their exhaust systems modified to give off a sound that is akin to the sound of a firearm being discharged, (b) a lot of robberies and shootings involve the use of motorcycles, and (c) motorcyclists are rarely seen wearing helmets, which is mandated by law. One would expect to see the police targeting motorcycles and seizing them whenever they come across such instances. Wouldn’t that automatically result in a reduction in the number of motorcycles on our roads and, by extension, a reduction in the number of traffic fatalities?

Many of the seized motorcycles find their way back to the roads, because of loopholes and corrupt practices. I would suggest logging and crushing, after two weeks, all motorcycles that are seized for which documents cannot be produced. If the law does not permit such actions, the lawmakers can fix that quickly in mere weeks, just like they did when the Government recently found out that they had been unlawfully collecting monies from motorists for years.

Correct me if I am wrong, but the police seem more intent on extracting money as against actually ensuring that motorists obey the road code to reduce traffic fatalities. If there were any real intent to reduce the number of traffic fatalities, why is the focus not on things that are actually directly responsible for said fatalities? Speeding, improper overtaking, tailgating and reckless driving are a few of what one would think are deserving of close scrutiny. Instead, seat belts, faded licence plates, cracked windscreens, licence plate lights and other peripheral stuff which contribute very little to the numbers, are given priority. These are low-hanging fruits which enable the traffic police to “eat a food”, I guess. And when the police do decide to crack down on infractions and carry out targeted operations, they inform the public so that they can hide and ride out the tide instead of catching the culprits and fixing the problems. But, then again, fixing the problem is not the goal.

Those that disregard the road rules should pay the penalty as prescribed by law but often the ones tasked with enforcing said laws don’t see the law being broken.

For all those who genuinely have an interest in reducing the carnage on our roads, please go online and read the article titled ‘500K speeding drivers in France caught by private camera cars in 2021’.

There is no need to reinvent the wheel, people.