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Influx of tricycles and the dangers facing motorists in the Tamale metropolis

Tricycles 123 A file photo of a trycycle

Fri, 21 Aug 2020 Source: Cynthia A. Apiung

In 2009, when I was a young woman in Tamale College of Education, taxis and motor bikes were the main means of transportation of the people in the Northern region. At the time I can rightly even say that taxis were the main means of transportation as it was not easy for one to afford a motorbike.

However, towards the end of the 2011, a new brand of motorbikes specifically, the brand popularly known as “mapuka” or “coupe de calle” emerged and was reasonably affordable and that contributed to the rise of motorbikes in the metropolis. The increase of this new brand of motorbikes in the metropolis came with its advantages and disadvantages as it is with almost everything under this sun. One notable advantage was how it made women mobile and so, the brand was even nicknamed women motor. This saw increase in women riders’ as well good money for the vendors.

However, the negative aspect of this increase was quite visible too. Road traffic rules were ignored and the security had to step in to ensure some sanity on our roads. This lead to fines and arrest of motorists who were found breaking the rules. There was also an increase in crashes due to non – observance of the road traffic rules. In 2020, there are still quite a lot of motorbikes in the Tamale metropolis and an increase in another means of transport, thanks to the fidgety fingers of our Indian brothers and sisters which has become a necessary evil for those who cannot afford a motorbike or simply do like the enclosed nature of a nicely built car on four wheels- the tricycle.

The influx of tricycles in the Tamale Metropolis can be counted both as a blessing and a curse.

On its positive aspect are, one can easily access it no matter where he or she finds himself of herself, a situation which was not so in 2009. In 2009, to get to some places, you had to hire a taxi at an exorbitant price and there were places these drivers simply refused to go, so it was not a surprise that a lot of people rejoiced in the advent of these tricycles and poked fun at taxi drivers for being ?too known? and getting knocked out of business. There are dangers associated with these three wheels vehicles despite its usefulness. There is a keen competition for space on the roads with motorists which leads to drivers of these vehicles ignoring traffic rules. This could lead to increase in road accidents on our road. Another visible danger has to do with the persons who drive these tricycles. Most times, you will find very young people some teenagers handling these vehicles. This raises a lot of question as most of them do not have the experience and technical knowledge to handle the vehicle. This is dangerous to both these young people and passengers as well. In addition; we can also mention the careless nature with which some of them drive the tricycle. This vehicle was designed to accommodate three persons, but you will find that more seats have been created to increase the number to five this, in addition to carrying heavy loads of goods exceed the strength and capacity of the vehicle.

There was an attempt by the road traffic wardens to check these issues a few months back but as it is with most good things that starts in our communities and abruptly ends without any reason this also became a nine day wonder. It is of no doubt that the tricycle has become part of the lives of people in the Tamale metropolis. However, the usefulness of this vehicle is in question due to its current usage and the many dangers its poses to motorists as observed earlier. The road safety commission would have to step in to do their part as soon as possible and as long as this vehicle remains with us, as it does not look like it would fade out soon.

We all as citizens also have a responsibility anytime we patronize these tricycle to hold the operators responsible for their activities with regards to how they operate the vehicle to reduce if not curb the dangers they pose to other motorists and citizens at large. When it comes to the influx of tricycles in the Tamale metropolis and the dangers thereof, I say we all need to be citizens and not spectators.

Columnist: Cynthia A. Apiung