WE have had quite a number of road fatalities for the year thus far, particularly bike related ones. It is no secret that the majority of society has a negative attitude towards bike related accidents. Riders who crash are often perceived as reckless, and that is unfair to those who are not. Motorcycles are widely considered to be death machines, and those who ride them are said to be calling for their deaths. Most parents dread the thought of their daughters taking a ride on the back of a motorcycle. “The motorcycle was designed by Lucifer himself,” someone said to me once. Two young men lost their lives in Dennery on the night of May 11th as the result of a motorcycle crash. This incident has attracted just as much public scrutiny as relatives’ sympathy.
Local churches have expressed their concerns over the high frequency of road fatalities. One Reverend in particular places the majority of the blame for road accidents on the lack of discipline. He labels recklessness and speed as the major cause of vehicular collisions.
Many accidents do happen and the underlying conditions that lead to them are not always clear. We jump to conclusions too quickly sometimes. A number of riders have crashed due to negligence of other road users, but whenever a rider dies you hear the cold and unsympathetic ‘Bike life!’ remark. We all know that there are careful and experienced riders on our roads, but the focus of this article is not on that class of rider. Instead, it is focused on the inexperienced rider who at certain moments may be more inspired by adrenaline rush than precaution.
A motorcycle is a vehicle like any other vehicle. It may have fewer wheels than other vehicles, but it is a vehicle nonetheless and must be regulated properly by the government. Are there regulations to ensure that motorcycles are inspected for their roadworthiness the way that cars and buses are inspected for road use? How much training are the riders required to undertake? Extensive formal motorcycle training should be compulsory before anyone is licensed to ride a motorcycle, and charges for riding without the proper credentials should be as severe as driving without a license. Young and new riders if not all, should be required by law to wear personal protective equipment while riding. Too many riders are dying due to lack of skill and protective gear. And if we examine the trend, we will notice that it is mostly young men who end up as the fatalities in these motorcycle accidents. It is not always their fault; they simply want to ride but we must make sure they do it the right way.
— Larena Danielle