As a means of ensuring the effective and legal operations of commercial motor bike riders around the country, the Sierra Leone Insurance Pool in collaboration with the Sierra Leone Commercial Bike Rider Union (SLCBRU) on Friday launched the Commercial Motor bike rider insurance scheme at the Miatta Conference hall.
According to the Commissioner of Insurance, Augustine Kanu, the advent of commercial motor bikes in the country have contributed positively to alleviate unemployment amongst the youth population, reduces the risk in crime rate and provide access to once inaccessible areas in the urban and rural communities in terms of transportation, adding that President Ernest Bai Koroma is committed to ensure the continuous operations of commercial bikes freely but under legal environment as provided for by the road traffic Act; which says among others “ it is a criminal offence to use or allow the use of a motor vehicle on the road without insurance” including motor bikes.
He explained that the safety of the bike riders, their pillion passengers and pedestrians is now readily available for personal injury, death and property damage that may occur in road crashes, explaining that the insurance market has offered to cover the motor bike riders for personal injury and death, free of cost in addition to the third party liability policy, covers personal injury or death of the driver which is a sign of commitment on the part of the insurance industry in the country.
The Commissioner states that the insurance industry and the Sierra Leone Insurance Pool have given him assurance to uphold the principles and objectives of the scheme to the fullest and his Commission likewise guarantees all stakeholders that, as a regulator of the Insurance industry.
The Chief Executive Director of Sierra Leone Road Transport Authority (SLRTA) Sarah Bendu, states that it’s been awhile since the Insurance Commission has been trying to get the project done, as commercial motor riders have been killed, arrested, molested and recklessly handled along the roads, as there is no one to fight their case or help them in terms of insurance, adding that the launching is a laudable event which the rider should comply with for their own benefit, explaining that previously Insurance companies across the country were refusing to register commercial motor bikes due to the high risk, but with the coming of the scheme, no commercial bike will be registered without going through the scheme.
Representing the Law enforcement Agencies in the launching, the National Coordinator for Traffic division in the Sierra Leone Police force, Superintendent Ambrose Suvula, encouraged the riders to comply with regulation 42 of the Road Traffic Regulations of 2011 that they should abide to the law, and further assured them of his support, if only they comply with the law.
Officially launching the Scheme, the Minister of Transport and Aviation, Balogun Koroma, maintained that it is significant that the launching of the insurance scheme is taking place at a time when the issue of Road safety is taking centre stage in the country in conformity with the declared United Nations decade for action on road safety.
According to the Minister, Okada’s are one of the primary road users, and that they are affected by numerous accidents which causes injury and in some cases death to its users, families are affected and undergo untold suffering through the loss of family income as a result of the death of the breadwinner of the family, explaining that in most cases, some of the Bikes are not licensed or insured, consequently, the introduction of an insurance scheme for Okada’s is most welcome and if fully implemented and monitored will go a long way in introducing sanity with regards to Okada operations and also ensure compensation in case of accidents.
Monday May 26, 2014