Former President, John Dramani Mahama has promised to legalize the commercial use of motorcycles popularly called ‘okada’ in Ghana.
The use of motorbikes and tricycles for commercial purposes in any form is currently against Ghana’s Road Traffic Regulations 2012 (L.I 2180).
But Mr. Mahama in an address to chiefs and people of Kpando in the Volta Region as part of his tour of the region said he recognizes the benefits of the ‘okada’ business to the many families that depend on it.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) flagbearer says he will legalize the ‘okada’ business but will regulate it to avoid unnecessary loss of lives.
“There are many young people who have finished school but can’t find any job so they look for what they can do. There are many young people you see riding motorcycles and transporting people from place to place. We call it ‘okada’. But in our laws, okada is illegal. But in reality, okada has become part of us. It has come to stay and you can’t stop it. So I have suggested that when we come into office, we will legalize okada but we will regulate it.”
“We will regulate it and give them the necessary training so they are able to conduct their business in a safe manner. They must obey all the traffic regulations in order to be able to go about their profession,” he said.
Many have said, the safety concerns associated with the use of Okada did not make it a viable mode of commercial transport, hence the ban should be in place.
Okada operators are known to flout road traffic rules; like driving against traffic and running red lights which are major road safety breaches.
To reduce the rate of accidents and casualties, the enforcement of the Road Traffic Regulations, 128, 2012 which bars the use of motorcycles or tricycles for commercial purposes aside courier and delivery service have been advocated to still be in full force.
But arguments have also been made for the review of the ban in the name of job creation.
In view of considerations, the Police has urged the government to lay a solid foundation before attempting to review the law.
According to the service, key steps such as the establishment of an institution to train and equip motorcycle riders with the requisite road safety regulation will be integral.