Motorbikes, the leading cause of 543 deaths in road crashes in April

AT LEAST 543 people were killed and 612 injured in 427 road accidents across the country in April, with road crashes involving motorbikes being the leading cause of the deaths. According to the Road Safety Foundation, a total of 206 people were killed in 189 accidents involving bikes, which accounted for 37.93 per cent of the total deaths. The country’s major highways saw huge pressure from home-goers in the last week of April centering Eid-ul-Fitr, and many people left Dhaka by motorbikes in absence of public transport, which can be a major reason behind the crashes.
Some 116 pedestrians and 87 drivers and helpers were killed in accidents during this period. The organisation blamed faulty vehicles, reckless driving, lack of skills, drivers suffering from physical and mental illnesses, operation of slow-moving vehicles on highways, youngsters riding bikes, poor traffic management, extortion, and people’s disregard for traffic laws. To reduce road accidents, the organisation made a 10-point recommendation, including creating awareness to produce skilled drivers, fixing working hours for drivers, increasing the capability of the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA), enforcing traffic laws, separate lanes for slow-moving vehicles on highways, stopping extortion on highways and full implementation of Road Transport Act-2018.
Although some possible bottlenecks on Dhaka-Tangail-Rangpur and Dhaka-Mymensingh Highways and two ferry terminals on the Padma had been concerns before Eid, strict monitoring by the authorities, proper management at choking points, and some people’s departure from Dhaka well ahead of the holidays made the Eid journey for others relatively smooth. Eid rush is a year-long crisis, which could be solved by taking some steps like closing and opening different types of entities at different time lengths. The authority should strictly control the mad rush by route rationalising and making the vehicles fit for the long drive. Road communications have become faulty and death traps for poor governance and near impunity.