“Curb bike movement on highways to reduce road accidents”, suggest transport leaders

Transport leaders today called for imposing restrictions on plying of bikes on highways to reduce road accidents.

Shajahan Khan and Mashiur Rahman Ranga, two top transport leaders, told reporters about their proposal regarding imposing restrictions on two-wheelers after a taskforce meeting held at the secretariat today.

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However, the taskforce led by Home Minister Azaduzzaman Khan Kamal, did not take any final decision in this regard, participants of the meeting said.

The taskforce was formed in October 2019 to implement 111 recommendations given by a committee led by Shajahan Khan, president of Bangladesh Road Transport Workers Federation, to curb road accidents and ensure discipline in the transport sector.

The proposal comes at a time when authorities, citing safety concerns, are taking stricter measures against bikes.

Bangladesh Bridge Authority banned bikes on Padma Bridge and bike movement on highways remained restricted for a week (from July 7 to July 13) aiming to ensure road safety during the Eid rush.

A government probe committee has recently recommended banning bikes on national highways after they saw a sharp rise in road crashes involving bikes ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr this year.

For the lack of public services and rise in bus fares, many people were forced to use two-wheelers to go home ahead of Eid. But, the huge number of bikes caused more accidents, different road safety organisations said.

More than 35 lakh bikes have been registered with Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) so far. But many unregistered bikes still tread unchecked across the country.

After today’s meeting, Shajahan Khan said bikes are involved in around 40 percent of road accidents in the country.

Shajahan, also a lawmaker of ruling Awami League and a member of the taskforce, said ridesharing services by motorcycles were also becoming dangerous.

Contacted, Ranga, president of Bangladesh Road Transport Owners Association and also a Jatiya party lawmaker, told The Daily Star that he pressed for operating bikes on inter-district routes under ride-sharing services.

He also recommended issuing separate number plate and licence to bikes operated under ride-sharing services to differentiate them.

Meanwhile, prominent road safety campaigner Ilias Kanchan, also a member of the taskforce, said transport leaders often dominate the meeting and only talk about their issues.

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