Commercial motorcycles, those two-wheeled vehicles popularly known as okadas, are a constant feature of Lagos roads. They seem to be everywhere, speeding right past you when you least expect it. They repeatedly break traffic rules, jump traffic lights, and forcefully squeeze themselves in between cars. Some of the okada riders do not even know the first thing about riding. Yet, they speed with one or two, sometimes three, passengers on their motorcycles, thus putting their lives and the lives of their passengers in danger.
Accidents between motorcycles and other vehicles keep occurring daily, despite the fact that the Lagos State Government has banned the okadas from plying most major roads in order to curb these mishaps. Still, both the passengers and the motorcyclists have ignored this. The latter have no other source of income, and so, they continue to ride their motorcycles. Passengers, who are pressed for time or are in a hurry, would rather ride on motorcycles to get to their destinations faster than stay stranded in traffic. Because of their size, motorcycles can easily manoeuvre their way between cars and avoid as much traffic as they want to, even if they do so without any skill.
The dangers of the commercial motorcycles, however, far outweigh these advantages, as the picture above suggests. The picture, which was taken in Oshodi, one of the major roads where okadas are banned, does not only show the passengers’ and motorcyclists’ defiance of the government’s prohibitions but also demonstrates the dangers of having more than one passenger on a motorcycle.
Photo Credit: Bamigbala Adekola