An Open Letter To Okada Riders (Motorcyclists)
Good day and compliment of the season to you all my dear brothers riding motorcycles to make a living. There is no doubt that everybody is feeling the impact of the recent economic melt down as we are still searching for a good leader that can lead us to a commanding height of success,prosperity and greatness. Though, they refused to recognise our existence but we recognise ourselves.The increasingly growth rate of citizens in urban and rural areas recognise us as the fastest means of transportation.We will continue praying for leaders that will not send us out to work for twenty four hours a day before we could feed our growing family,pay our house rent and at the sametime pay up the cooperative association that gave the loan to buy the motorcycle (ikoko obe) .It difficult for us to see or have time for our children as we rise up early and come back very late We risk our lives on the bad roads with pot-holes, raised pavemnt, loose gravels, sands,oil or diesel patches,slick surface and uneven or raise pavement. We need a leader that will make a free qualitatve education at all level for our children,so that buying expensive textbooks and paying tuition fees will be a forgone issue.A leader that will provide undistrupted electricity supply and save us from our neighbour's noisy electric generators. A leader that will provide regular supply of drinking water that will prevent our wives from long queue at rich-men bore-holes.A leader that will make good road network for all and thereby making it ease for our riding job activity.The road surface is very important to motorcyle because only a small part of the tyres touch the road. A leader that will improve the welfare of the policemen and give them “order” not to collect bribe everytime they stop us. A leader that will make sure that their is no scarcity of petrol supply in all our filling stations so we can get enough fuel to work. We just have to be positive in our thinking, hardworking and try our best to be law abiding and responsible citizen of the society. Let me remind you the motivating words of Robert Schuller that “tough time never last but tough people do“ Infact, I am not here to preach about our leaders whose their greediness and selfishness have brought us to continue living below poverty level. Most of us are growing thinner and thinner like broom sticks. That is why, in the next general election, we must all unite to vote for archievers to brighten our hopes and that of our children, reshape our destiny and re-write our beloved country history.
Meanwhile, the primary aim of my letter with all respect is to give you some important guides and suggestions that will help to reduce the rates of serious injury and death resulting from all motorcyclists and moped riders who use this fragile two-wheel engine not only for domestic purposes but now as a means of transportation in major urban cities and roads of Africa.My mission is to foster and promote awareness and safe operation of motorcyles among the driving and riding public.
Motorcycle is a fragile two-wheel engine and small in size which affects its stability. Also, because of this,we have incidence of crashes due to difficulty to see motorcyclist by most driver especially when the rider is not putting on an obligatory bright colour cloth or reflective jacket. Lately, motorcyclists errors contributed to many fatal accidents in urban centres and cities of Nigeria. Most of the crashes came as a result of human errors either by the rider or the another driver. Motorcyclists are likely to be injured in serious or fatal crashes than car drivers because they are not well protected..These following five guides are very important for your safety ,that of your passengers (pillions) and other road users.
The very first important thing to keep you save on the road is to wear an approved crash helmet. The most vulnerable part of a motorcycle rider is head. Head injuries are main cause of death to motorcyclists. Your chances for survival will be increased if you wear a standard crash helmet. Never ride a motorcycle without an helmet nor carry a passenger without using helmet. It is now a serious traffic offence. Helmet also help to prevent danger to the ears from indiscriminate horns,sirens and traffic noises.
Secondly,you have to SEE and BE SEEN by all road users while riding a bike.To be seen, you must use your dipped headlights during the day, (it is very obligatory in Europe) wear a bright cloth or reflective jacket or a white or bright coloured helmet. You can also put on protective and reflective clothings like clothes with pads,hand gloves, knee caps, boots, shoes and not bathroom slippers.Be visible and make sure you are seen in the mirrors of the vehicle in front. Make eye contact and never assume other see you. Know your blind spots when changing lanes and watch other drivers blind spots especially large trucks with trailers.Give them enough room to turn or manouevre.
Thirdly,a safe rider should apart from having good knowledge of his motorcycle, must also have total control of it while riding.Your eyes should be on the road and your hands on the throttle. You should aware, obey and familiar yourself with road signs, traffic signals and road markings.Safe riding demands attention and concentration at all times. Over-speeding does not give you full control of your bike.Telephone and cigarrette can distract your attention and it is better to pack in a safe place to make a call or answer an important telephone call.
Fourthly, most of those fatal accident victims in Africa have some alcohol or drug involvement according to the recent study. Next to this are crashes involve riders (self-taught) who have not been trained to properly operate the motorcycle. Practical training is very impotant to save more lives. Drunk or drug riding causes many unnecessary and preventable tragedies on our roads.Alcohol affects your vision and speed judgement. It makes simple task more difficult and reduces your ability to do more than one thing at a time. Some drugs meant for pain relievers can increase drowsiness and tranquillisers like cough syrup,cold tablets and sleeping tablets can reduce your riding ability. It is advisable not take medication less than an hour before riding.
Finally, I know by now you must have been very much in a hurry to mount your bike as clients are now trouping out to the bus-stop, but spare me just a few minutes for this last important guide to help your riding on flood or wet road, heavy rainfall, cross winds and in the night.In all above stated adverse weather conditions, a safer rider must always increase his safety margin or leave a security distance between his bike and the vehicle in front of him which can help in case of sudden braking without coalition.The first thing to do after riding through a flood or deep water is to test your brake repeatedly to make it dry.Remember that the braking distance can multiply on wet road. Avoid riding on heavy-rainfall and cross-winds which can blow-off cyclists and motorcyclists from the road. Low visibility in night riding increase the chances of getting accident,hence you should always reduce your speed and place yourself very well on the right hand side of the road. Never move the neck of an accident victim who shows signs of possible neck injury or remove the helmet of bike victim if you do not know techniques involved as not to complicate or worsen the victim's situation.
Wishing you all my Okada brothers and sisters a save jolly ride as we are all becoming responsible, confident and safe rider in making our roads to be saved for all road users.
Thanks and remain blessed.
Adewale T Akande.
Adewale T Akande, an Author and Road Safety Traffic Consultant.
Alicante, Spain.Tel:0034-600877296. www.globaleduven.com