Liberians React to Lifting of Ban on Motorcycle Plying Monrovia Streets


Monrovia – Saturday, March 3 was a jubilant day for scores of motorcyclists following the announcement that the new Liberia National Police (LNP) Inspector General, Patrick Sudue, has restored their freedom to ply the main streets across Monrovia and its environs.

Report by Gerald C. Koinyeneh & Webster Clayeh [email protected] 

The ban was imposed in 2015 by the LNP under the tutelage of former Police Chief, Chris Massaquoi to curb the increased accident and criminal rate perpetrated by the motorcyclists. 

However, the lifting of the ban has sparked huge debate as those against the decision say it is a misstep. FrontPage Africa has been in the streets and communities of Monrovia and Paynesville sampling the views on the issue. 

Bendu M. Tulay, Police Academy Community, 

“About two to three years ago, I used to ride motorbike. When motorbikes used to ply the main streets, accident rate was very high. Liberians used to see many accident cases. At several clinics and hospitals, motorbike accident victims used to be denied treatments. This was because of reckless behavior.

There was increase in accident cases across Paynesville and Monrovia. When accident patients are taken to Freda Clinic, they are denied treatment because of limited space. But actually, it is not because of lack of space, it is because of their anger over the motorcyclist’s recklessness.

Even there were reports that victims of motorcyclist’s accident were denied at JFK (John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital). Since the past government put stop to motorbike from running on the main streets in the city, the accident rate went down. I was surprise to hear that they are now free to go back in the streets.

I am very disappointed in the decision because our citizens will start dying again. In most cases, it is the passengers that are the victims. I am appealing to the rightful authorities to put back the ban.” 

Robert Howard, Motorcyclist, 

“I am in serious support with what the President has done. This is because as a motorcyclist, my movement was restricted. That was unfair. I hold a BSC in Computer Science from IMATECH University in Sierra Leone, but since I came back five months ago, there was nothing to do; no job.

So, a family member helped me with some money to buy a motorcycle. Unfortunately, my movement was restricted thus, affecting my business.

I wasn’t generating the money I was told to report. But with what the President has done, just today, from this morning to this time, I have gotten about L$3000. So, for what the President has done, I don’t even want to believe that I will look for office job. Not everyone can work in government.

We have a small private sector. With our movement being restored, I think we can make the same money the ministers are making. I don’t even want government’s appointment. I adore President George Weah for that. I never used to like him, but for what he has done, I don’t know what will make me go against him.” 

Elijah Faah, Small Business Owner, 

“The idea of lifting the ban is not good at all. Some of them (motorcyclists) are very rude and arrogant. And we don’t want them to be plying the main streets. We want them to go back to the old rules and continue their hustle.

The decision to allow them ply the main road will increase the accident and death rates. Though some are saying it will increase their daily income, but on the overall, it is not in interest of the public. As a resident of Pipeline Community, I see most of the motorcyclists running traffic and making money.

So, I believe when they go back in the community with their bike and stay off the main road, they will make the same money.” 

Samuel B. Briggs, Rock Hill, Paynesville City, 

“This is welcoming news. I think they have the right as citizens. Government needs to guide them in the process of safety and they should have lots of workshops for them to know the values and the traffic rules. These people pay taxes. Motorcycle is very expensive; some are sold for more than US$800 and US$900.

The Motorcyclist Union should work with the Liberia National Police to regulate them and train them. The assertion that motorcyclists brought armed robbery is a lie. Prior to the coming of commercial motorcycle, there was armed robbery.

Although, they sometimes misbehave, I believe the decision will have a positive impact on our transportation regulation and will address the issues of our citizens getting stranded and traffic jam.” 

Jerome Freeman, Rehab Community, 

“I really appreciate the authorities for lifting the ban. This is because motorcycles are fast moving objects and help lot of people to get to their destination faster. To put stop to the negative effects, the government should step in and take some preventive measures like giving them the needed protective gears and some training. In addition, there should be training for the Union’s heads to put the cyclists under control.” 

Llyod Karley, GSA Road,

“The idea is not bad. They all have the right to freedom of movement. The only problem is there should be laws to guide them. And if anyone breaks the law, that person should be given a huge fine not to repeat the same act.

Some of them are reckless so they should be monitored and restricted. I want to appeal to the government that they should be placed under the Transport Union. I believe this will make the government to generate more revenues. For the past time, only the Motorcycle Union has been benefiting from revenues generated.”

Abraham Charles, Motorcyclist :

“I am happy for the President’s decision. But I want the authorities to put in measures that will guide us and ensure our safety and that of our passengers. I want the authorities to compel us have two helmets; one for the cyclist and the other for the passenger.

They should ensure that motorcyclists should be neatly dressed and carry only one passenger at a time. When these things happen, we will be happy and proud to be motorcyclists because many times we are taken to be lawless and rude people.”  

Delux Fahnbulleh, Benson Street, 

From the history of motorcyclists, I have problem with the Police Inspector General’s decision. There had been lots of cases of accidents and the increase in criminal rates. So, to hear the Police IG giving leverage to motorcyclists I think it is in the wrong direction. 

It is not about constrains, it is about public safety. We all used to the process of struggling to get on commerce vehicles; so, I think the safety of the Liberian people should be the primary concern of the Inspector General. 

Before, the issue of criminal was on the increase and the past government went and put in certain area for motorcyclists to run and now for the IG to lift this ban, I don’t think it is in the interest of the public. 

I don’t think the issue is about making more money; the issue is about public safety.

Even if the distance is short, if you run the entire day I think you will be able to realize something. We don’t want a situation where the Liberians people will not be safe again. So, we are now calling on the Police IG to look at that decision. 

Lincoln Gardour, Fiamah Community, 

The government is in the wrong direction. The motorcyclists had increased the criminal rates in the country. They transport armed robbers that had been terrorizing lots of business sites and it was so good that the past government came and put some restrictions on them.

But it was to my outmost surprised to hear that the CDC led government on Saturday telling us that the motorcyclists are having the freedom now to run from Red Light to ELWA Junction and from Red Light to Freeport of Monrovia. It is very bad because we know the kind of people they are.

They are very reckless; some of them ride in slippers and no safety gear on them. 

It is about time now that the government reduce motorcyclist because the bike riding has spoil most of our children. They do not want to go to school. Many of our young people drop from because of motorcycles.

 The Gardnersville road is very congested. For instance, Killer Beam (Big Bus) had killed more than 10 motorcyclists on that road. So, if some will say motorcycles must come back on the road then you must expect more death; because passengers and bike riders will die on the daily basic. 

So, the decision of the IG is in the wrong direction. The government supposed to call for a workshop and train those bike riders how to ride the bike, teach them how to wear their safety gear before riding the bike but the government did not do anything of such and they had mandated that motorbikes must get back on the main road. It is wrong, and we did not expect the government to go that way.  

Eric Sowee, Resident Slipway Communitym

For me, I’m really against it because during past government, there had been lots of accidents that took place. So, to bring the motorcyclists back on the main road is not a good thing. I think the Inspector General of the Liberia National Police needs to reconsider his decision. 

When they put stop to the riding of motorbike on the main road we still used to move from one place to another because we have Kerker (tricycle) in town. So, if they want to do such thing they should give the kerker (tricycles) people the chance to run on the major road. 

It happens in the past that lots of people were dying from motorbike accident and the criminal rates went high.

Bike riders used their bike to jerk people things. I have learned that more criminals have been released from the South Beach, so I believed that these guys will still come to terrorize our people on their motorbike. 

Theodore N.S. Nana, UN Drive, Monrovia, 

For IG Patrick Sudue to allow motorcyclists to run on the main road is not good for now.

There should be a mechanizing put into place before allowing bike riders run on the main road.

Was there any workshop for the bike riders, I say no. Our people have been victimized by those bike riders by jerking their phone and causing lot of accidents. 

I think the Inspector General should have numbers of Police officers in the various streets and where there is no Police station he should put Police station there. Even at the Broad and Randal Streets, at some time in the day you cannot see Police officers there. 

The Police IG should be talking about placing Police officers all around the streets in Monrovia and not to be talking about lifting the no-go-zone bike riders, it is not the time now. 

Sayju Wleh Dickson, Resident, Slipway Community, 

I support the Inspector General of the Police for the lifting of the ban on the no go zone for bike riders. Those guys are taxpayers and they are immensely contributing to the economy of this country; so, they should not be suppressed. 

And looking at the situation of the pro-poor government; you must take certain thing into consideration; how can these guys make ants meet.

And, looking at the traffic congestion in the country I think the motorbikes can take people from one end to another. So, it is good, and I welcome it. 

I don’t subscribe to the issue of motorcyclists going around, robing people and causing lots of accident.

The issue is just simple; prior to the lifting of the ban there were lots of accident. So, you can’t tell me that when those guys move from Red Light to Freeport it will cause more accident, I say no to that. 

Those guys are young, and the government is trying to empower them because they are complaining that the restriction is making them to generate less income, so I support the IG decision.