May 13, 2022
DHAKA – Road crashes and deaths during the Eid rush saw a sharp rise this year compared to last year mainly due to an increase in motorbike accidents, two road safety organisations said yesterday.
Though the Eid journey was relatively smooth this year, the number of deaths in road crashes went up by around 20 percent than that of previous year, they said.
The platforms suggested that the government takes action to discourage use of motorcycles and improve the public transport system to reduce road accidents.
They blamed the use of motorbikes for Eid journeys, faulty vehicles, reckless driving, operation of slow-moving vehicles on highways and disregard for traffic rules for the rise in road accidents and deaths.
Bangladesh Jatri Kalyan Samity and Road Safety Foundation yesterday published their reports on road crashes during Eid rush. They collected information from media reports.
The two platforms, however, said the actual figures would be much higher as many accidents go unreported.
The journeys to and from home were quite smooth this time as there was not much hassle, except the return trips in the last couple of days. But the sharp rise in road crashes and deaths has dampened the positive development.
According to the Jatri Kalyan Samity, at least 416 people were killed and 844 injured in 372 road accidents in 15 days from April 26, meaning around 28 people died every day.
The organisation said road crashes and deaths were 14.51 percent and 22.35 percent higher respectively compared to the figures of the last year’s Eid-ul-Fitr.
At least 145 people were killed in 164 accidents involving motorbikes, meaning motorcycles were involved in 44.08 percent of the crashes and 34.85 percent of the deaths.
Samity Secretary General Mozammel Hoque Chowdhury made the information public at a press conference at the Dhaka Reporters Unity yesterday.
He said Eid journey this time was relatively smooth due to operations of some 25 lakh motorbikes and 40 lakh easy bikes (battery-run three-wheelers), monitoring by police and steps taken by different government agencies.
But the operation of a large number of motorbikes caused a sharp rise in road crashes, he pointed out.
Mozammel said people chose small vehicles due to absence of adequate public transport, high fare and traffic congestions on roads, but this trend led to an increase in road accidents, he added.
He demanded that the government ban import of motorbikes and easy bikes.
The Road Safety Foundation in its report said at least 376 people were killed and over 1,500 injured in 283 accidents in 14 days from April 25, meaning around 27 people died every day.
The accidents and deaths were 18.41 percent and 19.74 percent higher respectively than the last year’s Eid, the organisation said in a press release.
At least 156 people (41.48 percent of the total deaths) were killed in accidents involving motorcycles while 78 (20.74 percent) were killed in crashes involving three-wheelers, the report said.
Last year, at least 134 people were killed in 121 accidents involving motorbikes, meaning accidents saw 5.74 percent rise and deaths rose by 16.41 percent.
The platform said the number of motorbikes running during the Eid rush this year was unprecedented although long journey by two-wheelers is very risky.
At least 51.42 percent victims of the motorcycle accidents were aged between 14 and 20, it said.
Speaking at the Jatri Kalyan Samity’s programme, Prof Hadiuzzaman, director of the Buet’s Accident Research Institute, said the rise in the number of motorbikes and crashes are directly linked.
The government’s wrong policy led to the sharp rise in the number of motorbikes and this has now appeared like a cancer, the expert said.
“A developed country has a good public transport system, but unfortunately we are heading towards a motorbike-centric transport system,” he lamented.
He said the country would be in a dire situation if the number of bikes were not controlled or if the government allowed motorbikes with higher engine capacities to operate.
Currently, motorcycles with an engine capacity of up to 165cc are allowed to operate in the country.