A man carrying his wife and two children on a motorbike on the streets of Tamale. INSET: Some young men sitting on a bus on a street in Tamale. Pictures: SAMUEL TEI ADANO
The use of the motorbike has become a convenient means of transport for people in many parts of the country as it is considered quicker and cheaper.
In the cities, especially, where vehicular traffic is of major concern, the motorbike enables people to move around faster while in the rural communities it is able to ply the roads.
What is worrying, however, is that the motorbikers have been experiencing high rates of accidents, resulting in injuries and fatalities.
This makes it even more worrying when children are exposed to motorbikes as a means of transportation.
Some of the areas where motorbikes have become dominant are Accra, Kumasi and Tamale but they are also visible in many rural communities.
A visit to Tamale, the Northern regional capital, recently revealed the situation where parents sat on motorbikes with or without crash helmets, dangerously placing their little children on the motorbikes.
Most of them were seen on the principal streets of Tamale.
Many of them were transporting their children to school without the necessary protective gear for themselves or their children.
In some cases, these parents wore crash helmets but denied their children protection and made them to sit in front on their motorbikes without a firm grip. Although the children could easily fall off the bikes and die or sustain serious injuries if they should fall, to the parents it was the norm.
Convenience against safety
When the Daily Graphic spoke to some of such motorbike-riding parents, they were not perturbed as they viewed that mode of transportation as the easiest, cheapest and most reliable for sending their families, especially their children, to school and back.
Mohammed Baba Seidu, a farmer, told the Daily Graphic that he purchased his motorbike three years ago and as such saw no reason why he should pay lorry fare to transport his two children to school, especially when his farm was only a few metres from his children’s school.
“For convenience and safety of my children, I would continue to take the challenge to ride them to school and to my farm,” he stressed.
According to him, riding a motorbike was one of the means of avoiding the payment of high transport fares to and from his home to town.
Apart from the fact that some residents of Tamale preferred the motorbikes to vehicles, others sit on top of buses due to the lack of space in them in the bid to reach their destination despite the challenge.
Michael Anafo, a kebab seller, told the Daily Graphic that he needed to get to his destination to join family members to perform a ritual, and as such was not bothered if he had to sit on top of the bus so long as he would get to his destination.
He was emphatic that this was not the first, and would not be the last time he would get to his destination by that means. Anafo stated further that he sometimes travelled to his hometown on the roof of a bus with his two children anytime he was faced with the challenge of not getting a space inside.
“Sitting on top of the vehicle gives me an opportunity to get fresh air and see things from far and near, and I am never told to shift for lack of space,” he stated.