Liberians said that government’s decision at this time, is in the right direction and will go a long way to help curb the high incidence of accidents in the city.
Some locals spoke to the Daily Observer on Wednesday November 6.
A resident of Paynesville, Musu Watkins, said: “I really want to commend this government for the decision to stop motorcycle riders from riding on the major roads in the city because more people are really getting hurt from this motorcycle thing while others have died all because of their [Motorcyclists] carelessness.”
Ms. Watkins, 24, who is a student of the University of Liberia added that “at least when we are now walking in the streets, we will have some peace of mind. Riding the motorbike is not a bad idea because it somehow contributes positively to the lives of our people and our economy; but the way it is being done by our brothers in this country, makes it look bad.
Another student Wallisian Williams told the Observer, “I think government has really been thinking about this, but was only waiting for the right moment; the burning of the yellow bus in Chicken Soup Factory was that decisive moment and I highly laud government for this because these guys are getting out of hand. They could do this to anyone else because they have no respect for anyone including the police.”
She noted, “They get in the streets without proper training in traffic signs and road safety. This is why we see lots of accidents on the roads on a daily basis, crippling and taking the lives of our people. Government has taken this decision; now let them stand by it.
Another gentleman, Arthur Ballah said: “Government should be commended for this decision because what the motorcyclists did by burning that bus brought a dark cloud other the country. What if it could have been a different car belonging to a foreign diplomat, an International NGO or even our government officials?
“Why would they take the law into their hands?” Mr. Ballah asked rather rhetorically. Is the government of this country not capable of instituting justice? You know how many people they have damaged in this country? Has an angry mob ever burnt any of their motor-bikes—to say nothing about killing them? This country is a country of law and the government must now start to stamp its authority.
A Nigerian national, who identified himself as Amechereli Jonathan said though motorcycles are numerous in his country, (Nigeria) they are not allowed to ply the major streets in the big cities due to the congestion of the cities caused by the numbers of people and cars.
Mr. Amechereli said: “It is so surprising in Liberia that you see these guys all over the place. In my country, they do not ply major streets in the big cities. They are given directives to carry out their activities in particular sub-urban localities.”
He further narrated, “When motorcycling activities started in Nigeria to be frank there were no such restrictions, but when our government noticed that the number of accidents on a daily basis were forever increasing, as it is happening in Liberia here now, that’s when they introduced the regulations.
“So this is a perfect moment for the government of Liberia to institute these restrictions to save the lives of its people. I’m not a Liberian and I have nothing to do with this country’s politics. I’m only here to do my business, but I am only saying this because we all are Africans and what affects one country affects the others,” Amechereli said.
Another group of Liberians are also calling for the ban to be up-held until government, through the Ministry of Transport (MOT) and the Liberia National Police (LNP), in collaboration with the motorcyclists union to strategize and put in place proper rules and regulations that will guide the activities of motorcyclists.
Aaron Weah proposed that stakeholders in the transport sector need to provide training and other logistics that will enable the motorcyclists to operate professionally and in a mature manner.
“For example, all motorcyclists from Red-Light have blue reflector jacket, those from Gardnerville, yellow reflector jackets and so forth; this, they said, will help curb the many instances of hit and run,” he noted.
Meanwhile, critics of the government’s decision are viewing the government restriction as harsh and counterproductive to the welfare of the suffering masses. They said the decision in no sense supports the government poverty reduction policy and the much publicized Vision 2030 agenda.
Unreliable source had it that there was widespread jubilation at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center in Monrovia when the government’s decision to ban motorcyclists from plying major streets was announced. It had it that some of the celebrants, especially those who were affected in central Monrovia, said “though it is laudable, but why it is so belated, if it had come earlier some of us would not have been in this place.”