Sunday, October 14, 2018 11:14:01 PM
Md Joynal Abedin Khan :
The number of bikes, including riding share operators, became triple in number in past two and a half years being blamed for sharp rising of road accidents across the country.
A total number of motorcycles were seven lakh in 2016 reaching 22 lakh in September in 2018.
About 70 per cent of the victims died in motorbike and bus accidents, while the remaining 30 per cent died for crossing roads, breaking the traffic rules, says a survey of Accident Research Institute (ARI) of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET).
Most of these road accidents occur due to reckless competition between drivers, speeding motorbikes and not wearing helmets, it said.
It also shows that these accidents cause loss of worth Tk 60,000 million every year.
A total of 53 people were killed and 19 injured in 48 motorcycle accidents in Dhaka in 2017. Between January and August, there have been 42 motorcycle accidents, leading to the deaths of 47 and the injured of 37. Many of the dead are riders for ride-sharing services or their passengers, said the ARI.
At least 2,471 people were killed and around 6,000 others were injured in 2,353 road crashes during the January-June 2017, says a report of National Committee to Protect Shipping, Roads and Railways.
In rally of the dead, 773 were pedestrians who were run over and 548 motorcyclists, it said.
In 2016, the number of road accidents was 2,316, which grew to 3,349 in 2017 and 2,672 in 2018 (till September), says a survey report conducted by Nirapad Sarak Chai (NiSCha).
It showed that deaths in road crashes was 4,144 in 2016, 5,645 in 2017, and 3,414 till September of 2018.
The NiSCha said about 27 pc of road accident casualties are of motorcyclists while nearly 10 pc of road accidents usually go unpublished in the mainstream media.
According to the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA), the number of motorcycles on the roads increased more than threefold between 2016 and 2018, going from 700,000 in 2016 to 2,200,000 in 2018.
The overtaking tendency kills everyday around 21 people and injures 45 people, reports media.
Compared with 2016's statistics, road accidents increased by 15.5 percent, death increased by 22.2 percent and number of injuries increased by about two percent last year, studies reported. Hence, the roads in Bangladesh have become unsafe.
According to the latest WHO data published in 2017 on Road Traffic Accidents, deaths in Bangladesh reached 20,660 or 2.62 pc of total deaths.
The total number of registered motor vehicles in Bangladesh as on march 2018 is 3.4 million while around 10-12 motor vehicles remain unregistered, it said.
Meanwhile, Uber popularised ride-sharing services in Dhaka in 2016. Though it initially began by offering personal cars for taxi services, it soon branched into motorcycles. Pathao, SAM, Bahon and Shohoz have also become notable names in the market.
The BRTA Dhaka office registered 53,738 motorcycles in 2016 and 75,251 in 2017. As of August this year, 65,332 motorcycles have been registered.
This means that about 206 motorcycles were registered in Dhaka per day in 2017. This year the average has risen to 267 per day.
According to ARI Assistant Prof Kazi Md Saifun Newaz, the main causes of these accidents are unskilled riders and lack of knowledge about safety practices.
"Firstly, the number of motorcycles has increased due to these ride-sharing services and this has resulted in more accidents," he said.
Many accidents remain under-reported as police do not file FIR in all incidents, while the reports on injuries are neglected altogether, he added.
Share A Motorcycle (SAM) Chief Executive Imtiaz Kashem admits that ride-sharing companies are giving job opportunities to those without experience of riding motorcycles.
Pathao CEO Hussain M Elius, said, "The responsibility is also partially ours. But everyone has to work together to bring order in this sector. As we are working together on the matter, it will eventually bear fruit."
Pathao has distributed 10,000 helmets so far as part of a safety initiative, Elius said.
Some ride-sharing riders have been employed after an hour only of training. Mafizul Haque, from Narayanganj's Araihazar, is one such rider.
Mafizul, who has worked as a rider for six months, says that he had known how to drive a car, but not how to ride a motorcycle.
"I bought the motorcycle six months ago. Another person rode it to my house. That day I underwent an hour of training and have been a Pathao rider since then," he said.
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