It is an open secret in Ghana that commercial motorcycle riders, commonly referred to as ‘Okada’ riders, breach road traffic regulations, including jumping red light, with impunity.
According to a member of the Okada Riders Association, Ali Fatawu, certain circumstances on the road forced them to jump red light.
Sharing his eight-year experience as an Okada on The Key Points on TV3 Saturday, Mr. Fatawu acknowledged that their trade is illegal but observed there is patronage from the public regardless.
According to him, the police hardly question them on the legality or otherwise of their job as much as they confront them on road traffic regulations.
He mentioned that he has never been stopped by the police on the grounds that he was doing an illegality.
On the specific issue of Okada riders indiscriminately jumping red light on the road, he explained they do so to avoid any confrontation with the police.
“(sic)If the traffic light is on red and you see maybe the MTTU man is standing there … you know the fear and panic that you’re having, you’re afraid that the man too can come a remove your motor key, yes that kind of things”, Mr. Fatawu explained.
Though the use of motorcycle for commercial activity is not allowed under the laws of Ghana, the practice is very common raising concerns about its possible legalization.
The Minority Chief Whip and Member of Parliament for Asawase, Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka, on Thursday called for a review of the Road Traffic Regulations 2012 (Legislative Instrument 2180) to accommodate the operation of motorcycles or tricycles.
The review of the law, the MP said, would ensure that those motorcycles or tricycles could be identified, registered, licensed and policed to work within the road traffic regulations.
His call came at a time the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) is on a nationwide stakeholder engagement to decide whether the laws could be modified to legalise the “Okada” business.