Last weekend a family of five riding on a motorcycle was killed in an accident along the Nkwoedo Market Road in Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State. According to eyewitnesses, a Lexus Jeep carrying two people, had lost control and veered off its lane to another lane where it smashed into the family. They died instantly.
The occupants of the car were said to have jumped off the wreckage of the jeep and escaped.
The sad incident is yet another reminder of the dangers families are exposed to when they bundle themselves onto motorcycles on busy highways. That has become a regular sight, indeed. Another usual sight is that of little schoolchildren who sit astride motorcycles hired by their parents to convey them to and fro school. Often times, due to the exertions in school, some of the kids are seen holding tight to the motorcycle operator while fighting sleep. In some instances, some of them had been known to fall off the bikes and got smashed by oncoming vehicles.
Indeed, it is inconceivable why a parent or parents should tempt fate by entrusting the lives of their children in the hands of commercial motorcycle operators who are notorious for their recklessness. Even when a parent is driving, it is still dangerous to carry one's entire family on a bike as was the case in the accident in Ekwusigo.
Drivers of motor vehicles are known to have little or no respect for those on motorcycles and this alone presupposes that driving bikes on highways is dangerous.
This was why the Anambra State Government prohibited motorcycle operators from plying certain routes in the state in order to ensure their safety. Yet, this order has continually been flouted by motorcycle operators who see the order as a punishment rather than something aimed at saving their lives.
We use this opportunity therefore to implore parents to desist from tempting fate by exposing themselves and families to danger by taking to the highways on bikes together or using commercial bike operators to do school runs for their kids. They at least owe their children protection if they do not want to protect themselves.
There was no reason why an entire family should ply the highway on a motorbike. It is not only dangerous, but foolhardy.
We enjoin road traffic managers to redouble their efforts in ensuring that the ban on motorcycles using the highways is obeyed in the state. We also enjoin the police, in particular, to help maintain this ban. Often times, they concentrate on extorting money from defaulters and allowing them to pass, instead of confiscating their bikes and taking them to their station.
We call on the appropriate agencies to even go the extra mile by detaining little children seen on motorbikes and arrest their parents when they come for them. It is criminal to expose innocent children to such needless danger by anyone, not least parents.
We commiserate with the relatives of the accident victims in Ekwusigo and pray God to grant the souls of the deceased eternal rest.