Motorcycles, once celebrated as emblems of entrepreneurial spirit in Addis Abeba, are now the centre of an intensifying clampdown. The aspiration for economic well-being, once readily pursued on two wheels, is now faltering as a series of restrictive measures by city transport authorities put the brakes on what many saw as a route to financial stability. The restrictions have become more noticeable in recent months, particularly during high-profile events, alongside prohibitions on vital thoroughfares. The rationale given by the Addis Abeba Traffic Management Authority for such stringent measures is the alarming rate of motorcycle-involved thefts and robberies. They have insisted on installing GPS tracking devices on motorcycles to combat this. However, the initiative's success is questionable, with many riders either not complying or finding ways to circumvent the system.

The consequences of these restrictions ripple out, affecting more than the motorcycle riders. Businesses that rely on motorbikes' agility for prompt deliveries are in a tight spot. The dwindling number of permissible routes has led to severed contracts with riders, spiralling into customer dissatisfaction and growing operational expenses. Experts in the field argue for a different approach, suggesting that a gradual implementation of technologies and enhancements in road infrastructure could serve as a more effective strategy than outright prohibitions. They urge the inherent advantages of motorcycles, such as their fuel efficiency, which, if properly regulated, could contribute to a more efficient and manageable transportation system within the city.

The road ahead for motorcycles in Addis Abeba is shrouded in uncertainty. Striking a balance between ensuring public safety, managing traffic effectively, and meeting economic demands may require thoughtful policy and regulatory responses. Experts advise rigorous enforcement of transport laws, enhanced training programs for riders, and a progressive shift towards affordable, efficient and reliable mass transport infrastructure for a potential path forward in the city's mobility. SEE THE FULL STORY ON PAGE 2.

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PUBLISHED ON Mar 09,2024 [ VOL 24 , NO 1245]

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