Curbing Lawlessness among Bike Riders Bo Police Officers Sabotaged
Lawlessness has become order of the day and way of life among young people depending on bike riding in Bo City, Southern Region of Sierra Leone in a manner that left the Sierra Leone Police [SLP] with no option but to implement the rule of law arresting and charging defaulters or law breakers to court. (Photo: Superintendent. SAO Vandy)
What is most worrisome according to the District Traffic Officer [DTO], Sierra Leone Police, Bo West Division, ASP Fillie D. Tamba, many unscrupulous young people are not only riding unlicensed bikes with fake number plates within the township but they are also causing untold road crashes among helpless citizens.
It would surprise someone to learn that when the no-nonsense ASP Tamba took the galaxy of Journalists at a corner within the Police Station where various impounded bikes parked; Reporters discovered that most of those bikes were seized as a result of the riders’ failure to present authentic licenses and their usual habit of violating traffic rules and regulations with impunity.
The most disheartening part of this episode according to Mr. Phillie is that, some riders’ have the zeal to ride with unregistered bikes with fake number plates bearing inscriptions like Chief Makissa, Boss LA back in line and many other impressions instead of them carrying registered number plates to avoid Police probe.
ASP Fillie D. Tamba described the statement that Police are harassing bike riders unnecessarily as out of contest, defamatory and baseless and sensitized that when a bike is bought for commercial purpose should be license and register because he continued that it was damaging to the side of Government if the rider fails to register his bike. He maintained that it is their responsibility as police officers to monitor and ensure that the roads are free and pedestrians are walking safely. “Nobody shall ever dream to hold a bike on motion except the rider goes against the law. He recalled that when he was at Kissy, Freetown, bike riders union were well organized and united but the opposite takes place in Bo City. He proclaimed that most of the bikes are stolen properties adding that not all bike riders are bad but some are not observing traffic rules and have no respect for the rule of law. Mr. Tamba reiterated that this new era is encouraging riders to go for test before given a license as nobody is above the law.
The Regional Chairman for Bike Riders, Southern Region, Sorie Saccoh disputed the fact that bike riders have the responsibility to license their bikes, provide mirror and crash helmet for the safety of both the riders and passengers but they usually brought under Police inspection if they fail to obey traffic rules adding that, overloading is against traffic rules. However, Mr. Saccoh cautioned Police officers who are mounting raids against young bike riders for sanity to be restored to stop treating riders as beast of burden because he said, they are playing very important role in society by conveying people from one point to another. He argued that the youths depend on Okada business because there is no job opportunity in the country adding that there are many Police officers who are not assigned to the traffic unit but they kept on instituting what he described as ‘pocket arrest’ against their members, a process he said has the potential to undermine operations of the traffic sector. He said the method Police are using to arrest default bike riders has caused so many accident within the township of Bo and spoke on the need for bike riders to be discipline and respect the law and encouraged colleague bike riders to insure and license their bikes. “It is difficult to free a bike rider who have gone beyond the ethics of bike riding”, he admonishes.
Another bike rider, Umaro Kallon who rides day and night maintained that bike riding has robustly reduced armed robbery in the entire Bo City and beyond. He alleged that Police are still chasing and taking money from them in form of bribe.
In his statement, Regional Traffic Officer [RTO}, Southern Region, Superintendent SAO Vandy said traffic is one of the departments charged with the responsibility to save lives and properties and ensure road users abide by the traffic rules and regulations.
Mr. Vandy frankly stated that a bike rider could only be charged to court if the Police find out that he or she has a case to answer and mentioned that they are trying to control the traffic situation but the lawlessness exhibited by the riders generally hindered their effort of saving lives. He said they are presently in community led policing system.
He advised riders to buy and legally register their bikes before they are brought to Sierra Leone so that Government will not be on the losing side and concluded that speed limit among riders should be minimized. Mr. Vandy emphasized on the danger of overloading and stressed that riders always become annoyed whenever they are intercepted by the Police and concluded by urging taxi owners or any other commercial vehicle owners to license their vehicles and drivers for all of us to live in peace and harmony and love one another as God loves us.
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