The Rwanda National Police (RNP) department of Traffic and Road Safety, Thursday, launched countrywide operations against taxi-moto operators that work without required traffic related documents or are involved in unlawful acts.
On the first day of the operation, up to 100 motorcycles were impounded in the City of Kigali alone.
According to Senior Supt. Jean Marie Vianney Ndushabandi, the spokesperson for Traffic and Road Safety Department, and the operations target motorcyclists without driver's license, transport authorisation permit or those who are not registered in cooperative as well as those violating other varied traffic related offenses.
Transport authorization permit issued by Rwanda Utility Regulatory Authority (RURA) is a prerequisite for every motorcycle used in taxi business.
On the other hand, all motorcyclists are supposed to belong to a certain cooperative. Statistics indicate that most motorcycles used in criminal acts like transporting thieves or stolen items, trafficking drugs and snatching people's valuables are those that are not registered in cooperatives.
"If we have to save lives, we have to make sure that every beat of the road safety standards is respected," SSP Ndushabandi said.
He added: "When you park in the middle of the road or dangerous place to pick or drop a passenger; when don't go for riding lessons through which you acquire a driver's license and you instead use your basic riding skills; or when you ride on high speed, make u-turn in a wrong or dangerous area, you are putting lives of other road users at risk, and these operations are meant to prevent such deadly behaviours."
Majority 30 percent of road injuries and deaths registered last year were either caused or involved taxi-moto operators, according to statistics.
The continuous operations, Ndushabandi said, will also be extended to motorists.
"We started with motorcyclists today but the operation will also be extended to other groups of motorists such as special hires, public service vehicles, private owned and trucks. We want to ensure that every road user understands and respects traffic rules and regulations," Ndushabandi said.
Révérien Ngendahimana from the federation of motorcycle cooperatives - FERWACOTAMO - said that they are working with RNP, RURA and Rwanda Cooperative Agency to ensure that the motorcycle transport business is "organized and safety for all."
"It's a policy that every motorcyclist has to belong to a certain cooperative; this helps in monitoring and control and at the same time easier to identify errant members involved in criminal acts or whose behaviours and actions on road put the life of other people at stake," Ngendahimana said.
With the ongoing installation and registration of all taxi-motos, the federation and Police say it will now be easier to track any motorcycle implicated in any criminal act or violation of traffic rules.
This is because motorcycles registered in cooperatives are being fitted with GPS, and Police appeals to members of the public to always be quick to memorise or note down the number plates of the motorcycle they see or suspect to be involved in any wrongful act.
This makes it easier to trace it back to the owner and to identify the person that was using it that very day or night it was implicated in the unlawful act.