Liberia: Pehn-Pehn Riders Not Above The Law

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IN 2013, THE FORMER administration of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf instituted a ban on motorbike taxis from the capital city’s main roads. The decision came in the backdrop of scores of accidents and deaths as a resort of the careless and reckless driving of bikers dubbed Pehn-Pehn riders.

THE BAN ALSO CAME after the driver of a motorbike taxi was killed in a collision with a school-bus. As a result of the collision, an angry mob set the bus on fire.

IN RECENT WEEKS, DEATH and accident toll appear to be on the rise again

LAST WEEKEND, three persons were badly injured from a horrific accident involving a vehicle and a motorcycle in the GSA Road Community in Paynesville. Onlookers and sympathizers who rushed on the scene were left in shock, with some screaming as a broken tibia (the bone that connects the knee and the ankle), of one of the victims was seen lying at the accident scene.

THAT ACCIDENT MIMICKED  a similar accident last July when two of four persons on a motorbike were killed in a tragic accident in the Tusa Field Road Community in Gardnersville, a suburb of Monrovia.

IN THE WAKE of so many deaths involving Pehn-Pehn riders, the motorcycle and Tricycle Union is taking the government to task over its controversial ‘no-go-zone pronouncement, terming the decision as ‘marginalizing and inhumane.’

MR. TROKON G. GRAY, Secretary General of the Union said Monday that since the reintroduction of the No-Go-Zone restriction in Monrovia and its environs, the cyclists’ rights have been denied and they are also being marginalized and abused by authorities.

REFERENCING ARTICLE 8 and 13 of the Liberian Constitution, Mr. Gray accused the government of contravening the laws.

According to Article 8 of the Constitution, government shall direct its policies toward job opportunity for all Liberian citizens without discrimination. Article 13 speaks to all citizens having the right to move freely in and around Liberia as long their movement do not contravene the organic laws of Liberia.

THEREFORE, Mr. Gray argued that for the Liberia National Police (LNP) to declare No-Go-Zone is an attempt of denying citizens job opportunity.

The Fact of the matter is, motorcyclists continue to drive recklessly, by driving in opposing lanes and in between traffic to the detriment of motorists, whose lives are at their mercies on a daily basis.

ADDRESSING A NEWS conference Monday, Mr. Gray called for the cancellation of the no-go-zone and threatened the government that his organization will embark on series of actions. “We said with immediate effect, and if government does not ahead to our called, there are series of processes we will follow; and they will see our action soon.”

SUCH VILED threats by the motorcyclists’ leadership does not bode well for Liberia’s immediate and foreseeable future.

THE FACT of the matter is, motorcyclists continue to drive recklessly, by driving in opposing lanes and in between traffic to the detriment of motorists, whose lives are at their mercies on a daily basis.

THE TRUTH of the matter is that hundreds of lives are lost to road traffic accidents. According to the World Health Organization(WHO), deaths in Liberia reached 1,655 or 4.94% of total deaths in recent years. The age adjusted Death Rate is 52.03 per 100,000 of population ranks Liberia #2 in the world. Review other causes of death by clicking the links below or choose the full health profile.

ADDITIONALLY, hospitals and clinics across the country are bombarded scores of patients admitted as a result of motorcycle accidents.

IN THE WAKE OF all these, it is important for the government to not relent in its quest to control the movement of motorcyclists.

IT IS NO SECRET that Pehn-Pehn riders have a reputation for dangerous driving and theft which are on the rise once more.

WHAT THE PEHN-PEHN RIDERS union should be doing is working with the commuters and motorists to sensitize bike riders about the urgent need to enhance and emphasize road safety.

TOO MANY LIVES are being lost and very few measures are being put in place to deter bikers and lower the number of deaths.

THREATS COMING from the Pehn-Pehn riders union should be condemned by all well-meaning Liberians keen on putting the brakes on the loss of innocent lives to reckless Pehn-Pehn riders.

NO ONE SHOULD be above the law when lives of people matter. The motorcyclists’ union must seize and desist from such reckless utterances and threats and focus more on educating its members about the importance of riding with care and saving lives, not ending them, prematurely.

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