The High Court (HC) order to stop the driving of motorcycles on footpaths and on walkways in the capital has not been enforced even seven years after the directive. Essentially, the HC directive could not restrict bikers from riding on footpaths.
Since the authorities concerned have not taken effective steps to implementing the HC order, it is still being ignored by riders, and inconveniencing or harming pedestrians.
Riding motorcycles on footpaths and on the wrong side of the roads has become a common feature in Dhaka city, even in front of law enforcers. Reckless motorcycle driving with no helmet and with more than one rider is also a common practice.
Motorbikes driven on footpaths have been posing a grave danger to pedestrians for many years, and are a cause of increasing road accidents in the city.
The excuse is that bikers use footpaths just to save time.
Joint Commissioner (Traffic) Mofiz Uddin Ahmed said, “Increasing the number of traffic police officials will help monitor motorcycles that are being ridden illegally on footpaths. Authorities concerned have already set barricades on footpaths to restrict the motorcycles that get on them illegally.”
On March 5, 2012, the HC banned the riding of bikes on footpaths and asked authorities not to allow the riding of motorcycles or driving of cars on footpaths.
On October 23, 2014, the HC issued show-cause notices to the government and to the police to explain why they should not be asked to enforce traffic rules strictly.
Around 2.49 million (24,91,862) motorcycles were registered in the country until January 2019, according to official data. Among them, 45,340 motorcycles were registered only in January 2019, according to Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) statistics.
The data also revealed that 395,603 motorbikes were registered in 2018.
Law and punishment
The existing laws provide punishment for violators, but those laws are seldom enforced.
Section 85 (1) of the ‘Motor Vehicles Ordinance 1983’ stipulates how to ride a motorbike in public places. It says, ‘No person shall drive a motor vehicle or cause or allow a motor vehicle to be driven in any public place at a speed exceeding the limit fixed for the vehicle by or under this ordinance or any law.’
Section 92(1) provides penalties for violation of Article 49 of the general guidelines of motor vehicle movement. It says, ‘If a person violates any of the first parts of general instructions mentioned in sub-section (1) of section 49, then that violation shall be an offense, and for that he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a maximum of 3 (three) months, or for more than Tk 10,000 (Ten thousand taka) fine or both, and, in the case of the driver, the excess shall be deducted 1 (one) point of accusation.’