A picture published in The Daily Star on October 30, where a man is seen talking over a phone while driving a motorcycle with three members of his family, is a perfect example of how the very basic traffic rules are often violated by the bikers in the city. What is most shocking is the fact that the two children on the motorbike are not even wearing helmets. Such practices are commonplace in Dhaka and elsewhere in the country where disregard for traffic rules by the bikers often lead to dangerous road crashes.
A survey by Nirapad Sarak Chai (Nischa) has found that the growing number of motorcycles are mostly to blame for the alarming increase in road accidents across the country. The Nischa survey found that among the deaths in road crashes in 2017, 27 percent were motorcycle riders. And according to Accident Research Institute at Buet, of the 280 accidents reported in Dhaka last year, motorcycles were involved in 24.47 percent of them.
Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) estimates that from 2016 to 2018, the number of motorcycles saw a threefold increase in the country—from 7 lakhs to 22 lakhs. And, as of May this year, of the total 40.18 lakh vehicles registered with the BRTA, 26.23 lakh were motorbikes, but only around 10.53 lakh bikers have licence. And still, there is a huge number of motorbikes which have not been registered at all.
Clearly, the bikers who do not even care for a license or registration to ride a motorcycle remain oblivious to other traffic rules in general. Under the circumstances, the BRTA must strictly follow the rule that in order to register a bike, the biker at least should have a learner’s licence. In addition, the organisations working with the issue of road safety must initiate specific programmes to make bikers aware about the need for following the traffic rules. Moreover, the traffic police must take instant action against bikers and passengers for flouting the very basic traffic rules such as not wearing helmets.