Road Safety Week: Campaign taken to motorcyclists

DIGP Felix Namuhoranye addressing motorcyclists at Dove Hotel in Gisozi, yesterday

The week-long campaign to educate different categories of road users on traffic rules to prevent fatalities continued countrywide on the third day, yesterday, with focus on tax-moto operators.

Motorcyclists account for majority (30 percent) of road injuries and deaths registered between January and September, this year. More than 430 fatalities and 660 injuries were recorded in the same period.

The Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIGP) in charge of Operations, Felix Namuhoranye, while addressing hundreds on commercial motorcyclists operating in Kigali, observed that “accidents are sudden not prepensed through over speeding, riding or driving while high on alcoholic beverages or drugs.”

“You are driving or riding at the speed of 120km per hour and you find yourself off the road because of just a car crossing the road that startled and you call that an accident! You accelerate on the highest speed trying to beat traffic lights and you end up crashing in an automobile from the opposite direction and you call that an accident. These are just irrational behaviours making other road users vulnerable to accidents,”

Reckless driving/riding accounted for 42 percent of the total accidents with 24 percent caused by over-speeding.

While reacting on the 20 percent reduction in road accidents, DIGP Namuhoranye said: “This is an indication that we still lose lives, unfortunately, to preventable reckless behaviours. It’s a national policy to ensure no life is lost to road accident”

He urged the motorcyclists to ensure behavioral change and make personal commitment to ride within the limits of traffic rules adding that “every life is valuable to their family and nation.”

The mayor of Gasabo District, Stephen Rwamurangwa, who also attended the meeting, observed that “we have orphans, widows and widower due to crashes. The security the country reels on towards sustainable development includes the safety of our roads.”

According Commissioner of Police (CP) Rafiki Mujiji, the commissioner for Traffic and Road Safety department, majority motorcycles involved in accidents crash into vehicle either due to high speed or making reckless maneuvers.

The level of indiscipline of taxi-moto operators on road, he said, makes them, their passengers and other road users vulnerable to accidents.

On pedestrians, the other category will high rate of accident victims, CP Mujiji said that they continue to educate them on proper road usage to prevent reckless crossing where they are hit by automobiles.

Currently, there is no law holding pedestrians accountable for causing an accident, but the State Minister for Transport, Eng. Jean de Dieu Uwihanganye, recently disclosed that new traffic law is in the final stages and that it will also provide for penalties against any pedestrian whose traffic violations cause an accident.

Felix Ruhinda, the head of discipline in the federation of commercial motorcyclists—FERWACOTAMO—said that when the new leadership took over in last June, they found a disorganized federation where members had run away from their cooperatives.

“They were frustrated because of past bad leadership, they had many questions on their financial contributions due to misappropriation of their resources and more than 80 percent were operating without license. We have worked to fix all these issues and we are now shifting to deal with behaviors of our errant members,” Ruhinda said.

One of the measures to control and prevent accidents caused by motorcyclists includes installation of GPS in all motorcycles across the country by June next year.

There are over 60, 000 taxi-moto operators across the country, majority of them operating in Kigali.

With the GPS, it is easier to monitor the speed, know the location of the automobile and lock it where necessary.

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