Kaieteur News – Fifteen years ago, a child succumbed in hospital after being involved in an accident on a Sunday. According to reports in the press, the child was riding a bicycle when it came into contact with a motor vehicle. The impact caused the child to fall and hit his head on a boulder at the side of the street. This was indeed an unfortunate incident.
This occurrence raises two important issues, one of which I had previously dealt with in these columns before. The first issue concerns the safety of bicycles and motorcycles on our roadways which are being increasingly flooded by more and more motor cars.
The second issue concerns the quite prevalent practice of persons placing boulders at the side of their parapets and on their bridges, oblivious to the dangers these boulders present. I wish to first deal with the issue of safety on bicycles and motorcycles on our roadways.
I had called for a deliberate policy on the part of government to discourage the further importation of motor cycles since I feel that because of the increase in the number of motor vehicles on our roadways, there is little room for both bicycles and motorcycles. If there is any doubt that bicycles and motorcycles are finding it difficult to navigate our streets, just take a look at any junction at which there is traffic lights. One will witness what a difficult time, bicycles and motorcycles have at those junctions. It is only a matter of time before there is no place for bicycles and motorcycles on our narrow streets.
Guyana must learn from other countries, more so Trinidad where the growth of incomes of the population has led to more and more persons being able to afford motor cars. In Trinidad, bicycles have become extinct in most areas except the countryside, and not many motorcycles are seen in busy traffic because it is too dangerous. Guyana, which in the 1970s and 1980s fell economically behind all of the countries of the region to the extent that those countries have progressed well beyond us today, should learn from their examples of dealing with traffic management. One of the lessons of countries such as Trinidad is that bicycles and small motorcycles will become extinct.
Recognising the need for greater safety, the local authorities a few years ago began to enforce the regulations that insisted that helmets must be worn by motorcyclists. I think given the recent upsurge in accidents, the narrowness of our roads coupled with the increase in vehicular traffic, it is time that regulations be passed making it mandatory for all cyclists using our roadways to be equipped with cycling helmets. It will save lives.
If that child, who was involved in that accident fifteen years ago, had on a helmet, the blow that he received when his head crashed into that boulder would not have caused as severe an injury. I am greatly disturbed, and have been for a long time, by residents placing these boulders at the side of the street and on the entrances to their homes. These boulders are placed mainly for selfish reasons: to avoid persons parking on the parapets which I should remind all belongs to the government authorities and not to the homeowners, as well as to prevent persons from using their bridges to turn around. I have always found the practice of persons placing various types of barriers on their bridges so as to prevent vehicles turning into their gaps to reverse or turn around as extremely selfish. Yet throughout the length and breadth of Guyana, persons are being allowed to concrete the entrances to their homes and then to treat these entrances as private property by erecting encumbrances to their use by other vehicles. I am calling on the authorities to put a halt to this practice. I am also calling on the authorities to prohibit the practice of persons placing huge boulders at the side of the road. Those boulders constitute a hazard and any person falling and hitting one of those boulders is bound to suffer serious if not fatal injury. They should be removed forthwith.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and beliefs of this newspaper and its affiliates.)
AUBREY NORTON FRIGHTEN RENEGOTIATION AND RING-FENCING
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