Authorities in the Eastern Province districts have banned cyclists from operating on the main roads, to help prevent road accidents.
The ban, which took effect, last week, restricts bicycle taxis to feeder roads linking villages to the main road.
The decision was reportedly reached after it was realised that most accidents in the province were linked to cyclists. The police has in the recent past impounded a number of bicycles in towns.
“Statistics indicate that most of the accidents were caused by careless cyclists. Most accidents take place as drivers try to dodge cyclists, who are ignorant of road safety rules since one does not need a permit to begin riding,” John Mugabo, the Mayor of Kayonza District, said.
Police said they would continue monitoring to ensure there is no single bicycle operating on the main roads.
Meanwhile, cyclists who talked to The New Times on Monday described the decision as hasty, noting that it would send many youth to streets.
Jean Paul Madugari, who has been doing the business for seven years, said the ban was a very unfortunate move.
“This is not right. Many of us are servicing bank loans,” he said.
Geoffrey Karinganire, a resident, said banning the bicycles was a futile measure.
He said bicycles were purchased at relatively low prices and have low running costs, which is why they are used in most rural poor communities.
He instead claimed that many drivers are reckless and only use bicycles as scapegoats.
“It is true that cyclists are partly to blame but most accidents are due to reckless taxi drivers,” Karinganire said.
“Well bicycle transporters still ply village-to-market routes across districts, carrying passengers or sacks of cassava. They inevitably have to cross the main road at some point,” he said.