The New Dawn (Monrovia)

Liberia: 'Pehn-Pehn' Riders Request License

Commercial motorcyclists in Liberia have called on government to license them as they serve the public. At a news conference over the weekend, the Secretary General of the Liberia Motorcycle Union (LMTU), Robert M. Sammie, said when all commercial cyclists are licensed, it will help the police to easily identify genuine motorbike riders from criminals, who used bikes to commit crimes, leaving the blames commercial riders.

Sammie said the LMTU's call for partnership and collaboration is directed at the Liberia National Police and the Transport Ministry, adding that the Union has written both institutions on the need to license its members.

He said unless such measure was introduced, the commercial motorcycle sector remains vulnerable to threat. "We all need to work together to deal with this social madness as it sheds dark over the leadership ability of everyone associated with the sector," he stressed.

Sammie said in the last nine years, there have been estimated 4,578 road accidents across the country, involving commercial motorcyclists, leading 1709 fractures and 903 deaths.

He noted that the frequency of accidents has reduced considerably, but flagrant disrespect for the rule of law is prevalence in the sector, which is a major source of potential threat to internal stability. The pehn-pehn riders' spokesman said there are reports of serious mob violence against his members, many of whom become victims.

He said 90 percent of commercial motorcyclists grossly disregard basic traffic standards, especially the use of helmets, foot wears, number of passenger and the One-way, amongst others. He noted that part of the challenge is approximately 35 percent of commercial riders are foreign nationals.

"With no hesitation you will agree with me that these scary challenges are real and evidential; but no doubt we have the ability to overcome them. Realizing that these vices are public problems requiring holistic approach, we encourage all stakeholders' collaboration and strong partnership to decisively tackle this social shambles. We are set to take the lead," he noted.

Sammie noted that the LMTU will on 26 January 2013 organize road and public safety workshops nationwide, targeting about 10,000 commercial motorcyclists, adding that enforcement for compliance to the rules will follow next.

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