31 motorcyclists arrested for riding on sidewalks

On 26 December 2020 at 06:59

Thirty-one taxi-moto operators have been arrested on various roads in City of Kigali for allegedly riding on walkways.

The traffic offenders were paraded to the media on Friday, December 25, at the Metropolitan Police headquarters in Remera.

Rwanda National Police (RNP) spokesperson, Commissioner of Police (CP) John Bosco Kabera said that their actions were also destroying public infrastructure, violating rights of pedestrians and leading to accidents.

He added that taxi-moto operators have a bad attitude and behaviours of violating traffic control-lights, reckless maneuvers trying to overtake vehicles and riding on pedestrian pavements and green spaces, during traffic jam.

Ensuring road safety, he said, involves both education and enforcement.

"We have conducted awareness campaigns in the past years, targeting different groups of road users, including taxi-moto operators. During Gerayo Amahoro campaign, we had a whole month dedicated to educating motorcyclists, among others, on respect for sidewalks and green spaces. It is now time for enforcement," CP Kabera warned.

"In some cases, motorcyclists fall down trying to climb pavements and knock pedestrians on sidewalks because of such inappropriate driving behaviours," he added.

The spokesperson further noted that some taxi-moto operators do not have insurance, turn off lights especially when they are violating the curfew hours, in some cases leading to accidents.

"There is no gain in paying heavy fines for such preventable violations. All you need to do is respect traffic lights, not to ride on sidewalks or green spaces. A motorcycle should have insurance because it is your insurance that pays for the damage caused in case of an accident," CP Kabera told motorcyclists.

Riding on sidewalks attracts a traffic fine of Rwf150,000, among other penalties.

Eric Nzayisenga, one of the arrested taxi-moto operators, regretted his actions which he said have put him in a "tough situation" of looking for money to pay the heavy fines.

"I have learnt a lesson. For a motorcyclist to raise such an amount of money... it is really hard especially when you acquired the motorcycle on loan like me. I hope all taxi-moto drivers have also picked a lesson from this," said Nzayisenga.

He admitted that he knew that riding on pavements in wrong "only that we did not mind about it probably because no one had ever been arrested or penalised for it."

To Yves Haragirimana, another arrested motorcyclist, the majority taxi-moto drivers have made it a practice to use walkways, especially during traffic jam.

"It is my first time to be in handcuffs for a simple thing that I can avoid. I must admit that most motorcyclists using pavements see it as something normal, but this is a lesson learnt," said Haragirimana.

The traffic offenders were paraded to the media on Friday, December 25, at the Metropolitan Police headquarters in Remera.