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General News of Saturday, 14 August 2021

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

#GhanaWebRoadSafety: Victims of okada crashes share their experiences

Riders have been operating over time without crash helmets play videoRiders have been operating over time without crash helmets

Correspondence from the Eastern Region

The increasing number of road accidents involving commercial motorcycles, popularly known as okada, claiming lives and changing the livelihood of survivors has become an albatross around the necks of some Ghanaians.

Others have also suffered life-threatening injuries and been left amputated following gory incidents even after several years of careful watch on the road.

Some riders in the Eastern Region revealed that they had never been involved in any form of road accident since they began their riding career until the inevitable happened.

Speaking to GhanaWeb, a victim, Donkor Prince narrated that early this year, his long-standing record of zero accident got broken on the Dodowa-Agomeda road in the Greater Accra Region which resulted in serious injuries to his head, legs, hands, and face.

Narrating his near-death crash to GhanaWeb, the young man said he was returning to Agomeda after dropping a passenger at Dodowa when he rammed into a speed ramp.

“On that fateful day, I worked till 6pm and dropped my helmet at home. I returned to the roadside and a lady asked me to drop her at Dodowa.

“On my way, I received a call from one of my colleagues asking me to hurry up so I could join them to the Royal night club in Somanya. On my way, I bumped into a speed ramp and fell.

“I sustained severe injuries to my head, legs, hands and eye-brows. I was taken to many places for treatment and eventually ended up at the St. Joseph’s Catholic Hospital at Koforidua,” recounted the okada rider.

Thankfully, Prince who has been riding okada since 2014 is back to business because as he put it, “I have learnt some lessons but I can’t say I was involved in an accident with the okada so I’m going to stop riding but I’m going to be more careful.”

Another victim, Ocansey Joseph also shared his story detailing how he, in 2017 rammed into a vehicle that resulted in injuries to his legs.



“While returning from Kodiabe, a vehicle from Koforidua heading towards Tema emerged from a curve. I applied my brakes but rammed into the vehicle.

The windscreen got shattered and injured the driver in the process. My motor was damaged and my legs were damaged. I was later taken to a health facility at Soja Camp,” said the 25-year-old.

Richard Owusu, a former okada rider told GhanaWeb that he stopped engaging in the work following an accident and constant police harassment.

He blamed some vehicle drivers for disregarding and “disrespecting” okada riders as road users.

“It’s like some of the drivers they don’t have respect for our business. Last time for instance I had an accident at the junction and whilst on the way to the hospital, certain things went on, it was like I wasn’t having a license so they tried putting all the blame on me so due to these challenges I decided to sell my motorbike and stop [the work],” Richard said.

This, coupled with constant harassment from the police, forced him to stop operating his business.

Despite the gory tales of their colleagues, GhanaWeb observed some of the riders and their pillion riders riding without helmets.

One of them who gave his name as Jonathan was spotted picking a passenger without a helmet.

Surprisingly, the two of them dismissed the need to put on helmets despite being in agreement the associated risks of a crash.

Jonathan who has been riding for the past six years said, “Sometimes it brings heat, that is why we don’t wear the helmet.”

Asked if he does not fear for his life in the event of a crash despite once involving in a “minor” accident, he answered in the affirmative but insisted that the heat was the core discouraging factor.

“That one we are scared but we don’t wear it because of the heat…sometimes they [police] have been chasing us for not wearing helmet,” he said.

His pillion rider also put the blame at the feet of the rider. According to her, she had no option but jump at the back of the okada despite not being given a crash helmet, unperturbed about the risks she was engaging in.

“The rider did not give me a helmet that’s why I’m not in one,” she defended. “I asked for one and he didn’t have it. By the grace of God, nothing will happen. I take the okada once in a while,” she said.

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