Over the past few weeks since the Lagos State government placed a ban restricting commercial motorcycles popularly known as Okada from major roads in Lagos, residents have been experiencing some difficulty in commuting to their various destinations. This has been made worse by the ongoing fuel scarcity which has ensured that fewer vehicles for public transportation are available on the streets thereby causing a hike in transport fares.
Everyday, especially at the rush hours, the bus-stops are thronged with people looking for vehicles to get them to their destinations. But while some residents are calling for the reintroduction of the Okadas, the state government remains adamant on the ban and has announced plans to introduce bicycles lanes on major roads across the city.
Channels TV reports that the Commissioner for Transportation in Lagos, Mr Kayode Opeifa, made the announcement on Sunday at a cycling event called ‘Park and Ride’. Park and Ride is an annual event organized by On Air personality, Mannie of CoolFM Lagos, which urges people to park their cars and ride bicycles in a bid to address climate change and improve people’s lifestyle.
“The bicycle programme is on and pretty soon, you will see some roads in Lagos, marked as bike zones. What is alternative to Okada (motorcycle) is the bicycle,” the Commissioner said.
He also discouraged the use of Okada on short distances. “Anybody who wants to take a bike (Okada) from their house to the bus stop, should use their bicycles. And when they get to the bus stop they should tie their bikes to the poles provided at the bus stop and join the BRT buses. The poles we are providing at the bus stops are not for decorations but for people to tie their bicycles,” he added.
He also noted that cycling will enhance people’s lifestyle and would reduce the the emission of harmful gases into the environment. “All over the world, from London to Stockholm to Buenos Aires, people now ride their bikes to work because it saves the environment of the gaseous emissions that is harmful to the environment.“
While admitting that the tropical weather in Lagos will make it uncomfortable for cyclers, the Commissioner said that it would encourage offices to provide showers to ameliorate the discomfort.
Hmm… I wonder how many Lagos residents know how to ride bicycles. And with the narrow nature of most of our roads which are often filled with such large trucks, it might be absolutely scary to ride a bicycle on major roads. However, do you think this is a laudable initiative from the Lagos State government? Would bicycles help in reducing the traffic congestion on our roads? Would you be willing to park your car and ride a bicycle?