‘Majority of motorbikes plying the CBD are owned by Police Officers


…Claims President of Bike Riders

May 16, 2016 By Joseph S. Margai

President of Sierra Leone Commercial Motor Bike Riders Union, David Sesay, claims that most of motorbikes plying the Centre Business District (CBD) are owned by Police Officers and other state actors.

He made this claim Monday while talking about alleged Police harassment of motorbike riders on Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation’s (SLBC) midday television programme called ‘The Podium’.

Sesay discloses that the CBD starts from Kissy Road onto Eastern Police, Siaka Steven, including Lightfoot-Boston, Lamina-Sankoh, and Wallace-Johnson streets, Pademba Road, Circular Road, among others in Freetown.

“The Police have gone beyond these points to arrest riders plying at Wellington, Lumley, Calaba Town and other areas outside the CDB,” he disclosed. He added that the Union’s executive had pleaded with the Police to allow riders use Leah and Dan Streets, east of Freetown, but the latter still arrest riders who ply those routes.

He laments that despite the shortage of crash helmets in the market and even after appeals to the Police to give them a one month grace period, his members are still arrested and their bikes impounded while riding in the CBD area.

“Most of the motorbikes operating within the CBD are not commercial ones. They have private registration number but they are used for commercial purposes,” he disclosed. He noted that when commercial bike riders violate traffic rules, they are referred to as ‘our union members but they are not registered with us’.

He also avers that some Police and military officers ride motorbikes on commercial basis, although all of them are categorised as commercial bike riders.

Asked about accusation that his members are lawless, Sesay says he cannot debunk the accusation, before adding that they are sensitising their members to be law abiding.

“When private motorbikes are arrested for plying the CBD, you will see people from higher positions calling for their release. Is this not lawlessness? What about if the common man commits the same offense, who will call for his release?” he asks.

He reveals that his members did not operate on Monday in protest against alleged Police harassment but assures that they would resume on Tuesday, as he apologises to the public on behalf of the union.

Momoh Bangura, a commercial motorbike rider informs our reporter that they decided to down tools yesterday because of persistent Police harassment, adding that they will resume work today after what he describes as fruitful discussions with the Police and other stakeholders.

Meanwhile, efforts by this reporter to contact Director of Traffic Management and Road Safety, Chief Superintendent of Police Patrick Johnson, to comment on the claim were unsuccessful.