A RAPID growth in the number of motorcycles and motorcyclists’ inclination to ignore traffic rules have worryingly added to incidents of fatal accidents in recent time. Motorcycles, which are said to be 30 times riskier than the four-wheelers because of their vulnerable features, have outnumbered all other vehicles across the country. According to different estimates, the number of motorcycles was about 10 per cent of all registered motor vehicles less than a decade ago while motorcycles now constitute almost 70 per cent of all motor vehicles. According to the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority, out of the total registered vehicles about 68 per cent are motorcycles. The number would be much higher if unregistered motorcycles are considered. Motorcyclists also top in violating traffic rules, the most common being reckless driving, non-maintenance of lanes and speed limits, not wearing protective equipment giving rise to fatal accidents. A Road Safety Foundation report shows that at least 1,026 people were killed and 417 were injured in 1,011 motorcycle-related accidents in January–October. The report also shows that 70.5 per cent of the victims were young and that about 37 per cent of the accidents occurred when the motorcyclists lost control over their vehicles.
What have also come to gravely worrying are the irregularities in and a lack of oversight on the growingly popular ridesharing service sector where many unapproved and uncertified companies and vehicles are reported to operate. Almost half of the companies and motorcycles offering ridesharing services are reported not to have received enlistment certificates, which is mandatory according to the Ridesharing Services Guideline 2017 which allows commercial use of private vehicles. Many motorcycles are seen, as New Age reported on Monday, taking passengers without using and even being enlisted with ridesharing apps at different intersections in the capital. The situation is similar in other cities. Violations of the ridesharing guideline have generated a sense of fear and mistrust among the passengers in the service. To mention, the guideline makes it mandatory for the companies to keep a Save our Souls system in their service so that it allows to send information of the riders and passengers’ location automatically to the national emergency helpline to protect the users and riders from any threat or crimes, but most ridesharing companies are reported not to have implemented this particular clause of the guideline. Some road accidents involving ridesharing services, especially in motorcycle, have also raised the question of a legal framework to handle and discipline this service.
Lax enforcement of the Road Transport Act 2018, little monitoring over ridesharing service and a lack of awareness among motorcyclists have contributed to an increase in motorcycle-related accidents. The authorities concerned must, under the circumstances, attend to the issues and act accordingly. Ridesharing companies and vehicles must also be brought under proper monitoring and motorcyclists offering the service must be trained by employing companies and tested by the authority concerned.
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