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Motorcycles rule Dhaka streets

Published : 26 Oct 2020 09:54 PM | Updated : 27 Oct 2020 01:29 AM

The number of motorcycles in Dhaka city has gone up abnormally in the last one decade, intensifying traffic chaos and creating anarchy in the traffic system as well.

The number of motorcycles in capital Dhaka has grown much faster than the automobile fleet during the period, the experts said, adding controlling the two-wheelers is a must right now as it is a very risky mode of transportation. Otherwise, the situation might take a serious turn, they cautioned.

The use of motorcycles is increasing day by day in the capital city, where traffic jams are almost an incurable problem. The number of registered motorcycles in the capital increased 268 percent in the last 10 years, sources said.

Since ride sharing has become popular in the city since 2016, the number of motorcycles also increased as fast, said the concerned people.

According to the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA), the number of motorcycles registered in Dhaka till 2010 was 2 lakh 10 thousand 081. At the end of September this year, this number has risen steadily to 7 lakh 73 thousand 170.

As a result, the number of legal motorcycles in Dhaka has increased five lakh 63 thousand 89 in 10 years. The growth rate is 268 percent. Of these, the number of legal motorcycles in Dhaka has increased by 3 lakh 35 thousand 844 in the last four years.

Reviewing the data, it is seen that the number of motorcycles in Dhaka has been increasing rapidly since 2016. From this time onwards, ride sharing has become popular in the country. From 2011 to 2015, where 30 to 40 thousand new motorcycles were being registered in Dhaka every year, in 2016, for the first time, the number of new motorcycle registrations exceeded half a million. 53 thousand 738 new motorcycles were registered that year.

In the year 2017, 75,251 new motorcycles were registered in Dhaka. And in 2018, for the first time, the number of newly registered motorcycles exceeded 1 lakh. 1 lakh 4 thousand 64 new motorcycles were registered that year.

The growth rate of motorcycles in Dhaka continued in the next years as well. In 2019, the number of newly registered motorcycles in the city stood at 99,256. And in the first nine months of this year (2020), 57,273 new motorcycles have been registered.

Meanwhile, there is proof that unskilled motorbikers are taking to the roads. Some ride-sharing riders have been employed after only one or two hours of training. Hamidur Rahman, from Moghbazar, is one.

Hamidur, who has worked for six months, said that he knew how to drive a car, but not a motorcycle.

“I bought the motorcycle six months ago. Another person rode it to my house. That day I underwent two hours of training and have been a Uber driver since then.”

Redwanur Rahman, from Moulvibazar, studying in a private university, is working as a driver after getting a learner’s licence.

“It’s been 4 months since I received a learner’s licence. I still don’t have the real thing. I ride my motorcycle with my learner’s licence. There are no problems. It’s not just me, many Uber and Pathao riders use the learner’s licence,” he said.

However, car drivers and pedestrians in Dhaka alleged that they are being bothered by ride sharing mobile app based motorcycle operators.

“Firstly, the number of motorcycles has increased due to these ride-sharing services and this has resulted in more accidents,” said Mohammad Abdur Razzak, deputy director (law and enforcement) of Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA).

“The second problem is that motorcycles are light vehicles. But compared to a rickshaw there is a higher risk of death when they get into accidents with one or two cars. Riders also have an incentive to make quick trips and end up speeding. This raises concerns about accidents.”

“Motorcycles need to get fitness certificates with registration. And there is no legal provision to recheck the fitness of a motorcycle after five or ten years. Concerned officials also have to be more careful when they issue fitness certificates for buses and trucks. If they do so, pollution will be reduced,” he said.

However, business activities had been stalled for more than two months this year due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Motorcycle registration was also stopped at the time.

A sales executive of Honda Motorcycle Company, said that their show-rooms were kept closed in the lockdown period as the government declared general holidays at the time. But their sales increased after the shutdown.