A worrying road regime issue largely left neglected in Bangladesh

Published: 00:00, Oct 23,2019 | Updated: 23:46, Oct 22,2019


MOTORCYCLES have accounted for 18 per cent of the fatal road accidents in about 10 months of 2019, as New Age reported on Tuesday, while three-wheelers have accounted for 8 per cent of the fatal road accidents in the period in the capital city. While such a situation remains worrying, what causes further worry is a gradual increase in the trend. Motorcycles accounted for only 8 per cent of fatal road accidents in the capital Dhaka in 2016 and three-wheelers accounted for only 5 per cent of the road accidents that year. But the 2017 figure for motorcycles increased to 15 per cent and for three-wheelers to 8 per cent while the 2018 figure for motorcycles was 19 per cent and for three-wheelers 4 per cent. The country-wide figures are no different. Motorcycles have accounted for 25 per cent and three-wheelers for 13 per cent of fatal road accidents in about 10 months this year across Bangladesh. In 2016, it was 8 per cent for motorcycles and 5 per cent for three-wheelers, which in 2017 increased to 16 per cent for motorcycles and to 11 per cent for three-wheelers while the 2018 figure for motorcycles was 19 per cent and for three-wheelers 14 per cent. The actual figures could be higher as the Accident Research Institute has prepared the report based on reports published in national newspapers.

While the increase in both the cases started showing signs in 2017, experts believe that the increase in the share of motorcycles, largely in Dhaka, is because of the government’s allowing ride-sharing services, introduced in the capital in 2016, as many unskilled and unprofessional riders started getting into ride-sharing services. As for increase in the share of three-wheelers, mainly on highways, the reason is put down on the government’s ineffective enforcement of the ban, ordered on August 1, 2015, on three-wheelers and non-motorised vehicles from running on national highways. All this suggests that the government has failed to adequately attend to issues of road accidents not only as a whole, but also part of the problems which involves motorcycles and three-wheelers. National Institute of Traumatology and Orthopaedic Rehabilitation records also corroborate the situation, with the number of people having been wounded in motorcycle accidents going up to 20–25 per cent now compared with 15–20 per cent three to four years ago. While the Accident Research Institute says, based on newspaper reports, that 4,076 died and 8,715 became wounded in 3,513 accidents in 2018, Bangladesh Road Transport Authority data show, based on the first information reports, that 2,635 people died and 1,920 became wounded in 2,609 accidents that year.

The government must, therefore, shore up some issues such as laying out service and feeder roads and an arrangement for alternative mode of public transports to effectively keep slow-moving vehicles off national highways, which are meant for fast-moving, heavy vehicles. And the government must attend to the issues of road regime such as the training of, generally, all motorcycle riders across the country and, especially, for motorcyclists who offer ride-sharing services in Dhaka.

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