By Olasunkanmi Akoni & Monsur Olowoopejo
Hard times seem to await the operators of commercial motorcyclists, popularly called Okada in Lagos metropolis, as the state government has concluded plans to enforce all traffic laws and regulations guiding their operation.
The state government said at no time should any motorcycle operator carry any visibly pregnant woman or school aged children or women with babies strapped at their backs.
To this end, the government said yesterday that with effect from Thursday, July 1, 2010, it would commence the full enforcement of all road traffic laws and regulations guiding Okada operation in the state.
According to Special Adviser on Transportation, Mr. Kayode Opeifa, who stated this at Alausa, Ikeja, it was part of the governmentâ€™s efforts to ensure security of lives and property and reduce the rate of accidents and loss of lives on the roads.
â€œHenceforth, commercial motorcycle operators also known as Okada will be restricted through traffic road signs on some Lagos roads and intersections,â€ he said.
The special adviser reiterated the regulation requiring that both the rider and passenger wear crash helmets, while all motorcycle operators must possess ridersâ€™ card.
Warns Okada riders
Opeifa warned that any Okada operator that carried more than one passenger at a time or a passenger with a load risked prosecution.
He said a series of meetings had been held with the leadership of the Okada Unions â€”Â Motorcycle Operators Association of Lagos State, MOALS, under the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW and All Nigerian Autobike Commercial Owners and Workers Association, ANACOWA under the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria, RTEAN.
Other regulations, which must be obeyed by the riders, according to Opeifa included: nobody below 18 years should ride motorcycle; no horn except that of a motorcycle should be fixed on the motorbike; no car stereo should be used; and no motorcycle should ply a dual carriage way.
Opeifa implored motorcycle operators to obey traffic rules and regulations such as obeying the red traffic signal lights and zebra crossings, not riding against the flow of traffic, and not parking on the kerbs, medians or pedestrian walkways.
He implored them to comply with the time restriction order for their business operation.
According to him, all motorcycle operators within Ikoyi, Victoria Island and Ikeja should close by 8.00 p.m while others elsewhere should end their operations by 10.00.