By Bernice Bessey .
A Health and Safety Expert and Consultant, Philip Nana Asante, has recommended that in order to reduce traffic road crashes involving illegal commercial motorbikes, otherwise known as Okada, the government must have a risk assessment database for effective legislation.
The need to establish a proper risk assessment report will help the country to put in place effective control measures that would enable the government prepare bill to Parliament that would enacted on or go against the Okada business.
According to him, an interim control measure and temporary bill should be prepared as an ad hoc measure to help reduce the risks involved the okada business, since the law does not recognise commercial motorcycle operations in the country.
Traffic road crashes involving motorbikes has been a major concern, as it recorded 620 motorcycles out 2,085 in first two months of 2018, and 620 reported within the same period of 2017, while over 40% motorcycle crashes occurred in the rural areas.
Mr. Asante finds the uncontrolled Okada business very problematic, due to the many crashes which go unrecorded, especially those that happen within the remote areas and hinterlands.
In an interview with The Chronicle, he said: “The hazards and risks associated with this unlawful line of business in Ghana nowadays is very great, and mostly with dare consequences to clients of this sector.
“Among these include physical, psychological, chemical, biological and ergonomic injuries, and even death to their commuters.”
His concerns were that some of the riders are in experienced. “They don’t observe road traffic rules, ride without using helmets, and using mobile phone while riding continue to pose threats to lives.
“These developments have caused and continue to cause a great loss of revenue to Ghana, due to injuries and death to both Ghanaians and foreigners, who are customers to this illegal transportation business,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Health and Safety Expert indicated that other countries in the sub-region have successfully adopted motorcycles as means of transportation, and had low risk, as compared to Ghana.
The Okada transportation, started about decade ago, and earlier attempts to stop it by the law enforcement agencies failed, and since then many unemployed youth and other nationals had ventured into the business.
He said the earlier the nation takes a decision on Okada transportation the better it would be for the citizenry, adding: “The number of youth who are in to this business is very high, and so terminating their operations could also add up to the unemployment situation, and finally result with them engaging in bad activities such as robbery, drug peddling amongst other negative activities.”