Mon | Oct 14, 2019

Motorcycle safety workshops for Western JA

Published:Sunday | September 29, 2019 | 12:16 AM

If you’ve ever visited the parishes of Hanover and Westmoreland, chances are, you would have witnessed the growing phenomenon of bike taxis.

For many, they are convenient, fast, and reliable as they can navigate areas that may be impassable for other vehicles. Still, the region continues to record one of the highest fatality rates when it comes to motorcycles. That is why Sandals Resorts International, a company that invests in communities, was quick to partner with professional motorcycling entity Back to Basics (BTB) for its motorcycle safety workshop.

“The level of fatalities amongst motorcyclists in Jamaica, especially in the western region, is not only too high but totally unnecessary. There are things that Jamaica, as a country, ought to have done, but has never done, to help tackle or avert this epidemic. Back to Basics’ objective is to save lives by triggering long-overdue changes in the culture of motorcycling in Jamaica,” shared Tarik Kiddoe, BTB’s founder and CEO.

This year, the workshop was held at the Hanover Youth Innovation Centre. Scores of bikers turned up to participate in the one-day session. Among the motorcyclists present, the majority operated a bike taxi or used the vehicle as a means of work delivering goods for major companies. This year’s workshop also saw a few females in the mix, which was new for the team.

The workshop consisted of a theoretical aspect, as well as a practical aspect. This saw participants going through a number of topics, including risk awareness, risk management, understanding safety gear, and understanding motorcycling techniques. For the practical aspect, they went through steps aimed at assessing their competence and employing the strategies they learned during the lecture. They also received refreshments courtesy of Sandals and Beaches Negril.

Kiddoe thanked those who came on board for this leg of the programme. He lauded the National Road Safety Council, the Jamaica Gasoline Retailers’ Association (JGRA), Zawdie Business Ventures, the Insurance Association of Jamaica, Learn to Ride Jamaica, Sandals Resorts, MD Project Management Services, and Shango Bikers for being part of a worthwhile initiative.

At the end of the workshop, all participants received certificates and as free gas incentives through the JGRA, but even more important, they left with a wealth of knowledge. They have all challenged themselves to share with others what they have learned and to see how best they can aid in the reduction of bike fatalities in the region.

The BTB team plans to return to Lucea in October as they are looking to rapidly execute more workshops.