The practice of motorcycle riders leading burial convoys is creating a nuisance in the Accra Metropolis.
In recent times, it has become the practice for scores of motorcycle riders to escort burial convoys, while enthusiastically demonstrating their riding prowess on the road with hair-raising manoeuvres that often border on recklessness.
They flash their lights and blow their horns in their bid to honour the deceased on their last journey.
Such activities, which invariably are dangerous hazards that inconvenience other road users, are predominantly concentrated around Nima, Madina, Kasoa, Teshie, Nungua, Adabraka, Alajo, Sukura, Russia, Accra New Town, and Timber Market, among others.
Some of these riders go on such processions with the dead, all the way from Accra New Town to the Madina Cemetery for the burial.
On their way, some stand on the bikes, while others perform all forms of acrobatic displays on the bikes, blocking the flow of traffic for considerable periods.
On several occasions, The Mirror has chanced upon a number of these riders performing their death-defying stunts, accompanied by roller-skaters and skateboarders, displaying on arterial highways like the Kanda, Airport and Tetteh Quarshie highways, while leading hearses to the cemetery.
Unfortunately, other road users have no choice than to submit to the anarchy, allowing the motorcycle escorts to act recklessly and disregarding road regulations, while traffic police look on helplessly, overwhelmed by the sheer number of lawbreakers.
The risks to the riders and the public are uncountable.
A few weeks ago, the Motor Traffic and Transport Department (MMTD) reported that there were 2,570 accidents involving motorcyclists in Accra between January and December, last year.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (DSP) Alexander Kwaku Obeng, who is in charge of Research and Training at the MTTD, in a reaction to this latest trend of activity, condemned such processions, describing them as criminal.
According to him, unfortunately, the number of accidents involving motorbikes keeps increasing due to such behaviour, as the statistics from January to December last year depicted with as many as 2,570 motorbike users being involved in various motor accidents.
“The law frowns on having so many motorcycles on our roads when they take the law into their own hands and ride on the pavements and the opposite side of the highway, dangerously manoeuvrering and displaying in traffic,” he emphasised.
“The first thing for people to do before embarking on such reckless processions with their bikes is to apply to the police for a permit.”
DSP Obeng referred to Legislative Instrument (LI) 2180 of 2012, Regulation 181 and 182, which states that “A person driving a motor vehicle in a funeral procession or other procession shall (a) Drive as near to the right-hand edge of the road as practicable and (b) Follow the motor vehicle ahead as close as is practicable and safe.”
The LI further states that “A person shall not without lawful authority or reasonable excuse cause a thing to be on or over a road or pedestrian walkway to interfere with the safe and free movement of a motor vehicle, trailer, motorcycle or likely to cause injury to pedestrians, road users and damage to property.”
DSP Obeng said funerals should be observed at private or public venues but not on the road.
“It is criminal and unacceptable. There could be processions but they must be done with permit and in solemn manner, without infringing on the rights of other users of the road.”
He further condemned the activities of skaters on the roads, stating that the LI makes it clear that “A person may operate a roller skateboard only at a designated playground authorised by the metropolitan, municipal or district assembly and not interfere with the road.”
DSP Obeng also said with more police officers in the communities now, the law will be applied strictly against such motor riders and skaters to protect vulnerable road users and pedestrians.