The National Road Safety Authority (NRSA) and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) have advanced preparations to roll out a comprehensive training programme on road safety for motorcyclists.
The move is part of measures to ensure that users of motorcycles and tricycles adhere strictly to road traffic regulations to help reduce the increasing rate of road fatalities involving motorcycles.
The Director-General of the NRSA, Mrs May Obiri-Yeboah, who disclosed this to the Daily Graphic last Wednesday, said a committee set up by the two bodies in that regard was finalising processes to begin the training programme in the course of the year.
"The committee has already developed the module for the training programme and we will come out with the training for motorbike users.
"There is disagreement over whether to regularise the commercial use of motorbikes or not; but even if we stay with the current law that forbids the use of motorbikes for commercial purposes, we still have to train the riders, since motorbikes are used for private and other purposes," she said.
Speaking on fatalities, Mrs Obiri-Yeboah said road accident statistics for 2020 showed an increase in numbers.
The latest statistics from the NRSA revealed that 2,589 people were killed in 14,886 reported cases of road accidents in 2020.
The 2020 deaths were a 13.4 per cent increase over those of 2019, during which 2,284 people perished in 13,877 reported cases of road accidents.
In addition, 15,517 people sustained varying degrees of injury from road accidents involving 25,152 vehicles, compared with 2019 when 13,677 people were injured in accidents involving 22,789 vehicles.
However, the number of pedestrian knock-downs reduced from 2,983 in 2019 to 2,728, indicating a decrease of 8.7 per cent.
The statistics showed that private vehicles accounted for 10,112 of the road accidents, representing 40.2 per cent of the total reported cases of road accidents for 2020. In 2019, the nominal figure on accidents involving private vehicles increased by 455, which was a decline in terms of percentage from 42.4 to 40.2 per cent.
For commercial vehicles, 9,356 were involved in accidents in 2020, representing 37.2 per cent.
When compared with the 2019 figure of 8,489 (37.3 per cent), there was an increase in the nominal figure for 2020 by 867 and a 0.1 per cent increase.
Per the 2020 statistics, accidents involving motorcycles saw the highest increase from 4,643 in 2019 to 5,684, representing a 1,041 hike in the nominal figure and a percentage increase from 20.4 to 22.6.
For the regional breakdown, the Ashanti Region topped the number of road fatalities in 2020, with 572 people perishing in 3,435 reported accidents.
Greater Accra came second with 455 deaths from 5,567 reported road accident cases, while Eastern followed with 388 deaths in 1,441 accidents.
Fourth on the log of fatalities was the Central Region, with 242 deaths occurring through 1,008 accidents.
The others were Volta, with 148 deaths in 496 accidents; Bono East, 143 deaths in 336 accidents; Western, 118 fatalities in 1,017 accidents, and Bono, 114 deaths in 258 reported accidents.
The Western North Region followed with 82 fatalities in 264 reported accident cases, while Upper East, Ahafo and Northern regions followed with 72 deaths from 220 accidents, 65 deaths from 232 cases and 63 deaths from 191 reported accident cases, respectively.
The rest were Upper West, 33 deaths in 162 accidents; Oti, 31 deaths in 214 accidents; Savanna, 29 fatalities in 90 accidents, and North East, 24 deaths in 35 reported accidents.
Giving reasons for the increase in road fatalities, Mrs Obiri-Yeboah said the increasing number of motorbikes in the system was one of the reasons.
Motorcycles alone, she said, accounted for the highest percentage increase (20.4 to 22.6) in fatalities between 2019 and 2020.
She observed that it was important for a definite decision to be taken by the government on whether to uphold the current law that debarred the use of motorbikes for commercial purpose or regularise the commercial use of motorbikes.
"Whichever way we decide to go, we still have to strictly enforce the laws to ensure that riders of motorbikes and tricycles maintain sanity on the road," she said.
The director-general called on all road users to adhere to road traffic regulations to help reverse the increasing spate of carnage on the roads.