Green Scenery Sierra Leone with support from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), Sierra Leone Roads Authority and the Sierra Leone Police has officially launched the Sierra Leone Commercial Motor Bike Riders Union at the St. Edward’s Pre School Centre at Kingtom.
Green Scenery and key partners have improved the capacity of commercial Bike Riders through training opportunities and other capacity building activities since 2005.
The partnership and support from Green Scenery motivated the establishment of the Sierra Leone Commercial Bike Riders Union after a complete restructuring of the association and the adoption of a new national constitution to which all riders have pledged their support.
The operation of bike riders in the country has increasingly become important to Sierra Leoneans as it plays a vital role in easing transportation constraints in rural areas where the road networks are deplorable and the disgusting traffic congestions in urban parts of Sierra Leone.
Commercial Bike Riding which commenced immediately after the civil war ended in 2002 when former youthful combatants realized that it could serve as a livelihood option for them. This phenomenon has now scaled up to the extent of employing some 150,000 youths country wide.
Commercial Bike Riders have also contributed to the social stability in the country as well as contributing to national revenue generation through license, registration and other taxes.
A representative of the Sierra Leone Roads Transport Authority (SLRTA) Kolo Kamara said the authority has partnered with the commercial bike riders union to help in their development strides to the extent that the authority has offered concession to them in the areas of registration and licensing of their bikes and is currently issuing them with driving licenses at reduced rates.
He also said that the SLRTA has organized a training course for about 200 bike riders at the Police Training School at Hastings in collaboration with the Sierra Leone Police and the Ministry of Transport and Aviation with no financial burden on the bike riders or their union. He also said that “we at the authority will look forward to closer cooperation between the bike riders Union and the authority but that the authority will frown at anything that will be against the norms of traffic and the legal obligations by the bike riders.”
Speaking further about regulations Kolo Kamara from the SLRTA said that the authority does not relent in using corrective measures on all riders who flout the rules of the road including the carriage of more than one person on the bikes or children on the fuel tanks and heavy loads on their control handles.
The Interim Chairman of the Bike Riders Union Daniel Tucker expressed profound gratitude to Green Scenery and partners for realizing the dreams and aspirations of the union to work towards peace, democracy and socio economic development of the country. He assured all that the bike riders will work hard to promote the good will of the union and work in the interest of the country.
Speaker after speaker expressed thanks and appreciation to Green Scenery for their support for the establishment of the union.
Head of Track One at the Traffic Division of the Sierra Leone Police Flavius Sesay assured the bike riders of their support in ensuring that traffic rules are adhered to.
Minister of Labour Hindolo Sumanguru Trye also commended Green Scenery and the Bike Riders Union for establishing a union that will represent all bike riders in the country. Farouk Sesay Board Chair of the Youth Commission officially launched the union while Miss Helen Bash Taqi chaired the ceremony.
By Saidu Bah