Number of bikes now 4,69,888 in Dhaka; doubled in 8 years | Daily Star
02:02 PM, July 17, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:21 PM, July 17, 2018

Number of bikes now 4,69,888 in Dhaka; doubled in 8yrs

'It got accelerated with the introduction of ride-sharing companies'

Though the number of motorcycles doubled in Dhaka over the last eight years, experts have suggested controlling the two-wheeler as it is a "very risky mode of vehicle".

According to statistics provided by the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA), the number of registered motorcycles increased to 4,69,888 in April 2018 from 2,10,081 in 2010.

Around 75,251 motorcycles were registered with the BRTA in 2017, a year when different ride-sharing companies, including Uber and Pathao introduced their bike services in the mega city.

The urban and transport experts said if the number of the motorcycles continues to go up in the city, it will create an anarchy in the traffic system and thus worsen the traffic management.

Saying that the rate of motorbike accident is very high, they suggested the government to streamline the public transport system to control motorbikes in the city right now.

Urban expert and former chairman of University Grants Commission (UGC) Prof Nazrul Islam shared his bitter experience of falling victim to motorcycle accident in the city in May last.

"When I was crossing a road through the zebra crossing in front of Oxford School in Dhanmondi-27 on May 31, a speedy bike hit me. Since I jumped to escape any serious injury, I sustained wounds in my legs and hands falling on the ground," he said.

"The motorbike rider didn't stop the bike and fled the scene. And even no one came forward to help me during the accident," he said.

He guessed the motorbike was of any ridesharing service provider as both the riders were seen having helmets.

Sharing the incident, the urban expert said the motorbike riders are desperate and hardly follow the traffic rules. "If the number of motorbikes goes up and the number of its alternative mode of transport doesn't decrease, it'll create anarchy in traffic system."

He said there should be separate lanes for motorbikes in the city as in cities of the developed nations.

Prof Islam, however, said car services of different ridesharing companies is traffic-friendly ones and particularly good for middle-class people.

Transport expert Prof Shamsul Haque of Civil Engineering Department of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet) said motorbike is a commuter-friendly transport but not healthy for the city's traffic system as it is 'very risky' both for the biker and passenger.

"If the number of motorbikes goes up commercially, it'll intensify the risk of commuters," he said.

Prof Haque said the motorcycles are not recognised as public transport in the developed countries. "But, the two-wheeler vehicles are used on narrow roads or lanes as a component of integrated public transport system in some countries."

Prof Haque said the rise of motorcycle use should be stopped soon for the sake of commuters' safety and traffic disciple.

Prof Moazzem Hossain, Director of Accident Research Institute (ARI) of Buet, said the number of motorbikes is going up sharply on the city streets due to its substandard public transport system. "The rate of motorcycle accident is greater among all motorised vehicles."

Mentioning that the speed of the city's buses is very low, the ARI Director suggested allowing public buses to be operated by a single company to address traffic congestions in the city.

Though the ridesharing companies claim that their motorcycle services are getting good response in the city, service recipients accused them of being too commercial and providing substandard services.

Priyanka Kundu, 24, a working woman, said she frequently avail of the ridesharing service on her way to and from the office, but she found the high speed of bikes very risky.

She also claimed that bikers refuse to go to her desired destinations in some cases.

When contacted through email, the Uber spokesperson refused to reveal the number of bikes registered with the company.

But Uber said, "We were incredibly excited with the launch of UberMOTO given how this product can help serve the need to navigate--faster and cheaper. UberMOTO has received encouraging response from our riders and partners since its launch."

"The safety of riders and driver-partners is of paramount importance to us. We encourage bikers using the Uber app to act in compliance with all relevant local laws and the rules of the road at all times. Breaking the local laws can lead to bikers losing access to their account. In case of any incident or unpleasant experience, we urge riders to use the in-app feedback method to inform us of actions that threaten the safety of driver-partners and riders," the Uber spokesperson said.

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