Riding Dirty - Motorcyclists continue to ignore the rules of the road
Some motorcyclists continue to flout the most basic safety regulations, including helmets, and the authorities are banking on a string of social interventions to reach this at-risk group of road users.
"Our approach is one of serious social interventions because we recognise that there are a lot of gaps with that category of road users. We definitely realise that we have to empower them," said Kenute Hare, director of the Road Safety Unit in the transport ministry, last Friday.
"Helmet is one gear that we would love for all of them to be wearing, but there are other gear that we would also like them to wear: elbow pads, knee pads, and goggles.
"The motorcycle is one of the most dangerous motor vehicles, and we have spent quite a bit of time, especially in western Jamaica, providing them with quality road-safety information," added Hare.
WESTERN JA MOST AT RISK
Fifty-four or more than 30 per cent of the 173 persons killed on the nation's streets since the start of this year have been motorcyclists, with the majority being from western Jamaica.
In the meantime, head of Police Traffic Division, Senior Superintendent Calvin Allen, said that the concerns in the western parishes are compounded by motorcyclists who do not bother to license and register the vehicles after purchase.
According to Allen, some 390 motorcycles have been seized islandwide since the start of the year, while some 2,470 motorcyclists have been issued tickets for not wearing helmets.
"A lot of the motorcycles in the western end of the island are not licensed and registered. They are not insured and so they are legally bound to be seized. This is why you have far more seizures in that end of the island," said Allen.
"In the western end, as you open and close your eyes, you see a barrage of motorcycles pass ... that is not so much the case in the Corporate Area," added Allen.
He said that motorcyclists in Kingston and St Andrew are more inclined to ignore wearing helmets and other protective gears.
Motorcycle fatalities by selected parishes (Jan-July 7, 2017 vs 2016)
Westmoreland 15 21
Hanover 8 1
St James 5 1
St Catherine 5 3
St Andrew 5 7
St Elizabeth 2 8