A quick glance on the streets of Lagos these days will reveal an almost amusing sight. From the well-padded and secured to the paint bucket painted as a disguise to deceive the authorities, you will find the different ways commercial motorcycles operators (CMOs/okada riders) are complying with the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) directive of compulsory usage of crash helmets by riders and passengers.
Wait a minute!, should there be a compulsion for someone to protect himself in case of an auto accident? Sadly, in this part of the world, the answer is a resounding YES! We place little or no premium on human lives, we would rather repair things than prevent them from happening. Countless lives have be lost–you guessed right–NEEDLESSLY.
Our culture embraces atonement and sacrifices rather than campaign for prevention. It is a normal sight if not pretty, to see as many as four adults cramped on a single motorcycle, children are not spared this complete recklessness since the parents themselves cramp as many as seven kids on a motorcycle!
The situation is worse than pathetic because the so-called ‘okada rider’ enjoys the patronage of not just illiterates, but of well-read members of the society; from nursery school pulpils to Ph.D holders–all of who are having a hard time adorning the safety kit (crash helmet).
An after-thought, the crash helmet only secures the head! The real issue of reckless riding by the okada riders pose a greater danger that not even a full body armour can protect against.