The shift in focus comes in the 27th week of the year-long campaign designed to influence positive actions of all categories of road users motorists, cyclists, motorcyclists, passengers, and pedestrians.
While addressing about 7,000 commercial motorcyclists at Nyamirambo stadium, Commissioner of Police (CP) Rafiki Mujiji, commissioner for Traffic and Road Safety, highlighted violation of pedestrian crosswalks, traffic control lights, speeding, one-way and maneuvers as major traffic offences by motorcyclists causing fatal accidents.
“Having structures—cooperatives, union, and federation—is a good foundation to build on to have a professional motorcycle transport system with maximum respect for traffic rules and regulations. That comes back to the responsibility and responsiveness of each motorcyclist; even one person can create positive change… it starts with you,” CP Mujiji said.
“Speeding through pedestrian crosswalks and pathways is still a common phenomenon causing security concerns for pedestrians; use of phone while riding is another dangerous and common practice. When riding, we urge you to have a maximum concentration on the road. Roads are built for all categories of road users with equal rights, which should be respected.”
CP Mujiji also hinted on cleanliness and body hygiene as practices that should define motorcyclists, as they move in the right direction in the national security and development agenda.
Commercial motorcyclists have formed road safety clubs, with the purpose of spearheading road safety and community policing programmes within their respective cooperatives.
According to Daniel Ngarambe, the president Ferwacotamo, a federation of taxi-motor cooperatives in the country, 182 road safety clubs will be established across the country.
“We have 182 cooperatives of motorcycles across the country, meaning each cooperative will have a road safety club of 50 members, who will be responsible for advising their colleagues on road safety usage, oversee and report errant members.
We started in Kigali with 40 clubs. We believe this structure will help to reverse the image of motorcyclists in terms of safer road usage,” Ngarambe said.
Chimith Nyarwaya, one of the members of the established clubs in Kigali, said that Gerayo Amahoro is designed for their safety.
“I have been in the motorcycle public transport for 19 years now; it’s my source of income to support my family of eight, who depend on me. If I am not safe on the road it means that my family is also insecure, and being safe means my family is safe and secure, capable of getting basic needs,” said Nyarwaya.
“I volunteered to be in road safety clubs because Gerayo Amahoro is for our own safety and the wellbeing of our families. When you greet your passenger with Gerayo Amahoro, you are giving him or her hope that you will arrive safely and you are conveying the message of road safety to the young and old you are transporting, that way you can change behaviors of people on road usage,” he added.
According to Ferwacotamo president, Daniel Ngarambe, fresh registration of members has helped to identify those who operate illegally.
“We have signed agreements with companies selling motorcycles so as to help our registered members, who work on contracts, to own theirs instead of operating underground, which also results into engaging in criminal activities and violation of traffic rules,” said Ngarambe.
“We are also in the final stages of ensuring that each member gets Rwf1 million in case of an accident and helping them get affordable houses through their monthly membership contributions. All this has attracted many operators to register and join cooperatives to access such benefits. We believe this will make them responsible people on road and in communities.”