Malawi has lost 206 lives to motorcycle accidents within six months, from January to June this year, with Homeland Security Minister Richard Chimwendo Banda describing the development as worrisome.
“Hospitals, mostly in cities, are overwhelmed with accident victims,” he said, adding that, in some cases, some accident victims lie in hospital corridors while awaiting medical assistance.
He said this in Lilongwe Monday, when he, and Inspector General of Police George Kainja, met with representatives of motorcycle taxi operators from across the country.
The meeting came a day before the police start releasing 7,821 motorcycles to owners that violated traffic rules and regulations.
The minister said, just last week, Kamuzu Central Hospital accident ward was overwhelmed with motorcycle accidents victims.
Chimwendo Banda added that this was also the case in Mzuzu and Blantyre cities, although he said Blantyre had registered fewer motorcycle accidents than other cities.
Meanwhile, the government has given motorcycle owners 30 days to get a provisional licence and a full licence before the end of six months.
“They asked for three months but we have given them six months,” he said.
The minister added that motorcyclists would be trained in their respective localities before getting the licence at K20,000.
Kainja said Police confiscated about 20,000 motorcycles across the country but most of them were claimed back by the owners after complying with the requirements.
The police boss has indicated that there were 7,821 motorcycles in police custody across the country.
Some of the confiscated motorcycles were unregistered and the operators had violated the Highway Code.
Kainja explained that every motorcycle on the road has to be registered, never carry more than one passenger, have a helmet for both the operator and passenger as well as be operated by someone with a driver’s licence.
“If anyone does the opposite, the law is going to take its course,” Kainja warned.
Chairperson of Kabaza Operators in Ndirande Township, Blantyre, Tonex Yakobe, said they were happy with resolutions made.
Mathews Kasanda is a journalist who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from University of Malawi (The Polytechnic).
In 2015, Media Institute of Southern Africa awarded him the Best Print Media Education Journalist of the Year accolade.
He joined Times Group Newsroom in September 2019.