Lagos clamps down on okada motorcyclists

Commercial okada motorcyclists blamed for Lagos traffic violatons and crime.

Lagos state government has begun enforcing a ban on commercial motorcyclists, popularly known as okada riders, from operating on 475 roads including major highways and bridges in the state.

The move follows the recent return of okada drivers on the restricted roads, in contravention of existing Lagos traffic laws.

State officials say that in addition to okada drivers engaging in hazardous practices such as driving against traffic and using restricted lanes, there has been a surge in motorcycle-related crimes such as bag-snatching and armed robberies.

Named after an obsolete Benin-based airline carrier not known for its comfort, the okada is a commercial motorbike whose rider ferries fare-paying passengers to their destinations. A feature of Lagos since the 1980s, okadas became popular due to the increasingly clogged traffic in Lagos as they presented a fast means of transport.

However they have also proved to be a consistently dangerous mode of travel, responsible for a large amount of road deaths each year.