The Inquirer (Monrovia)

8 November 2013

Liberia: Many Walk to School, Work

As the ban on motorcyclists took effect on Wednesday, November 6, 2013, several persons including students, workers and business people were seen walking on major streets out of Monrovia to reach their localities before they get late.

For example, in Paynesville City, Congo Town and its surroundings, many pedestrians were in irritated mood finding it very difficult to get commercial vehicles for their destinations.

Although, the ban was being adhered to by most of the motorcyclists, but in some communities, others who claimed to be leaders of the Motorcyclists Union were seen preventing their colleagues from getting in the traffic. Other motorcyclists in those communities complained that they were treated unjustly because the ban on them was untimely and only intended to bring total hardship on them in the midst of limited job opportunities in the country.

Paynesville City which has one of the largest communities with motorcyclists was seen with a large number of cyclists posted at the GSA Junction, while a small number of them were seen transporting passengers who lined-up in queue awaiting transport buses or taxis to take them from one point to another.

Motorcyclists in other communities, like ELWA Junction, Duport Road, Zayzay Community and Peace Island adhered to the LNP regulation by refusing to transport passengers.

In similar manner, along the Freeway via the Freeport of Monrovia, police officers were seen on the alert to prevent anyone or motorcyclists from flouting the measures put in place by authorities of the LNP.

Some motorcyclists spoken to on the streets told the INQUIRER that the police could have at least reduced the ban to either using safety gears or observing the safety traffic measures in totality but not to impose on them where they should ply their motorcycles. The motorcyclists, in a statement said, "For the police to have come down hard on them with an abrupt ban on the movements of motorbikes is unfair."

Also, two executives of the GSA Junction Motorcyclists Union have expressed dissatisfaction over the behavior of the LNP. According to Mr. Aloysious Z. Teah, most of the motorcyclists have families to take care of and placing such a ban on their movement is undoubtedly meant for most people to languish in squalor.

The other executive, Mr. Lawrence Freeman, said the police could have taken into consideration the slow pace of commercial vehicles in the traffic and allow them to take off the street too. He said, stopping motorbikes will not solve the problem but rather increase hardship and bring transportation crisis in the country.

But Deputy Police Director for Operation, Col. Abraham Kromah has announced that the LNP has received a sign of corporation from the public and the motorcyclists themselves.

In an interview on State Radio yesterday morning, Col. Kromah said the LNP patrol team was able to pick up few violators who decided to test the measures that have been put in place. He said those violators are not Liberians. Although he could not disclose the nationality of the violators but emphasized that the Liberian motorcyclists understand the process and are abiding by it.

The Deputy Police Boss explained that from the LNP information gathered so far the majority of the Liberian people consider this new regulation as significant to the safety of not only the motorcyclists but the entire citizenry.

Meanwhile, Nimba Country Senior Senator Prince Y. Johnson has called on motorbike operators and owners to remain calm as the Government will see how best to reconcile the situation.

According to Senator Johnson, violence cannot solve the problem. He said anyone taking violence to ease his temper will be doing so at his or her own risk.

The Nimba County Senior Senator made the statement when several motorcyclists in Paynesville visited him to register their grievances concerning the recent ban on motorbikes on the main streets.

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