Fewer motorcyclists dying
Seventeen fewer motorcyclists have died on the nation's streets since the beginning of the year when compared to the corresponding period in 2016, representing a decrease of almost 50 per cent.
Data from the Jamaica Constabulary Force Highway and Traffic Division show that up to Thursday, March 16, some 19 motorcyclists had been killed, compared with 36 over the similar period in 2016.
Executive Director of the National Road Safety Council (NRSC), Paula Fletcher, said that the decline in motorcycle deaths and crashes comes at a time when the NRSC is partnering with the Back to Basics Motorcycle Safety Mission to implement a biker safety awareness programme.
"It is strictly a social intervention and a first for us at NRSC, where we go to the community that we are trying to impact, to sensitise them on the issues related to the spike in motorcycle deaths over the past four years," she explained.
She said that with the assistance of the NRSC, the social project has received funding from the National Health Fund, and workshops for motorcyclists are being staged in Kingston, Westmoreland, St Ann and St Elizabeth, which are the parishes most affected by motorcycle crashes.
The Insurance Association of Jamaica, the Road Safety Unit and Sandals Resorts International are also key stakeholders in the collaboration.
According to Fletcher, when advised that they were considered to be among the most vulnerable road users, the motorcyclists were surprised to know that they were dying in such large numbers.
She said that in the workshops, the operators are taught the safety gears, techniques and precautionary measures necessary to operate on the roads in a responsible manner.
She added that through a collaboration with the Island Traffic Authority (ITA), the biker safety programme will allow workshop participants to become licensed motorcyclists, as the ITA personnel are on location to administer the tests.