Over 2,000 motorcyclists yesterday gathered at Nyamirambo Regional Stadium to receive guidelines by which they will have to adhere, to operate within Kigali City.
According to city officials, the guidelines were passed in 2008 but had never been enforced.
Among the directives, motorcyclists will now have to ride from the extreme right side of the road, to avoid accidents, which are mainly attributed to recklessness among motorcycle taxi operators.
Another directive is that no operators will be allowed to carry passengers below the age of twelve.
However, a contentious directive is one limiting motos’ working hours, ordering them to stop operations by 10 pm.
The directive, which is flexible, calls for those to be allowed to operate beyond the designated hour to seek official authorisation.
Jack Murekezi, a motorcyclist from Nyamirambo said that the directives will help reduce accidents. He, however, decried the cutting down on the working hours which he termed as a bit unfair.
“We get most of our clients at night when the taxis have stopped working and that is mostly after 10 p.m. Sometimes it also rains throughout the day and we have to work in the night,”Murekezi observed.
Clarifying the directive, Bruno Rangira, the Communications Director at the City said that this would generally not be enforced because there is already an existing understanding between the operators’ association and traffic police.
“The understanding allows motos to operate for 24 hours and we will not change this unless otherwise. However the other directives will be enforced immediately,” Rangira said.
Aloyse Manirareba, a motorcyclist from Nyabugogo stated that the rules will help reduce road accidents since motorcycles will keep on only one side of the road.
However, Dominico Gatsinzi, a motorcyclist from Remera noted that some of the rules would derail their operations.
“Most of our clients hire us to commute to work in the morning so as to escape traffic jams. That is why most of them need us. Now that we aren’t supposed to overtake any moving car but instead get stuck in the (traffic) jam would make us less competitive and almost useless to our clients,”Gatsinzi said.
The Traffic Police boss, Celestin Twahirwa explained why the directives are important.
“These rules are being enforced for the safety and security of the motorists and all Rwandans. If they are implemented, road accidents will reduce,” Twahirwa said.
Twahirwa noted that 80 percent of road accidents are caused by motorcycles. He added that if the policies are enforced, they would hardly collide with vehicles.