Today is the last day any commercial motorcycle rider can operate without a valid licence and crash helmet in Oyo state, according to the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC).
The commission has vowed it will deal decisively with defaulters, including those operating without a registration plate.
A communique from a safety awareness programmed organised by the community relations unit of the state government which had in attendance the Oyo Governor Isiaq Ajimobi insisted that motorcycles being used for Okada must be road worthy and must have the two side mirrors fixed on them.
Accordingly, operators must provide helmets for their passengers, will carry only one passenger at a time without any loading, and alcohol will no longer be sold in motor parks.
"Oyo State Government does not intend to ban okada riders but we are charged with the responsibility to protect the lives of our citizenry and that is why we need to partner with law enforcement agencies to enforce the usage of helmet. They must be cautious on the highway and must begin to use helmet,” the governor said through a representative.
'Thousands of helmets were distributed to them last year but we observe that some of them are not using it and are keeping it at home. They also engage on overload thereby endangering the lives of their passengers and creating social problems. All this are causing overstretching of government facilities in hospitals."
Oyo Sector Commander of the FRSC, Yussuf Salami, said: "Any Okada rider caught without helmet is fined N10, 000 but I think if we can increase the fine in partnership with the Oyo State Government, so many Okada rider will adhere strictly to the rules and regulation. Many Okada riders in this state needs attitudinal change and are inpatient. They are even ungrateful to government because they should have banned them.
"If we now charge them N30, 000 for non-usage of safety helmet, I know they will change. I will even advice the state government to state conducting psychiatric test on them because most of them behave abnormal while riding. Even Okada riders unions unit that ought to discipline their members are only interested in their daily dues. So many deaths has been recorded in this state from Okada accidents"
He urged the state government to have a database for all Okada riders in the state and give them same uniform in order to curb crimes.
Similarly, the Special Adviser to the Government on Community Relations, Alhaji Abidemi Siyanbade said a typical Okada rider is not patient, adding that they ride the Okada as if they are the only people using the road.
He said: "Another appalling habit of Okada riders is harassment of other road users especially anytime there is an accident involving one of them. Whether they are guilty or not, they will want to solidarise with their fellow Okada rider involved in an accident and in the process, harass and threaten other road users"