Motorcyclists should be required to undergo training - Milton
Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Winston Milton, based at the police's traffic department in Westmoreland, is hoping that in the review of the Road Traffic Act, worrisome concerns such as persons operating motorcycles without adequate licensing and training will be addressed.
Speaking at a stakeholders' meeting in Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland, on Wednesday, Milton said that currently, the Road Traffic Act only stipulates that motorcyclists must have licences, which, in turn, allows them to operate their bikes without them being properly tested.
Can drive with provisional licence
"I looked at aspects of the current Road Traffic Act, which has been around since the 1930s, that deal with the licensing of motorcycles. In order for a person to legally operate a motorcycle on any public thoroughfare in Jamaica, he is only required to have some kind of a licence," said Milton.
"The weakness in the regime, though, is that motorcyclists can acquire a provisional driver's licence, what we call a learner's licence, and then take a motorcycle on the roadway," continued Milton. "In order to procure this particular licence, all one needs is a certified passport-sized picture and the requisite fee."
"This means that the person's knowledge as it relates to the Road Code cannot and will not be tested, neither is his competence to operate that particular class of motor vehicle tested. In this regard, he is both a threat to himself and to other road users when he takes the motorcycle on the road," stated Milton. "So, from our perspective, we would like to see the newly proposed Road Traffic Act incorporate aspects that will deal with this particular flaw, so we can reduce the number of motor vehicle collisions on our roadways involving motorcycles."
In pointing to some of the concerns regarding the current Road Traffic Act, central Westmoreland Member of Parliament Dwayne Vaz said the matter was under consideration at the highest level.
According to him, the prime minister was looking at having different standards governing experienced and inexperienced drivers of motor vehicles. Among the considerations is that the experienced drivers will be allowed to operate at a higher speed level than the inexperienced driver.