Government has passed legislation in Parliament to institute tougher measures to prohibit bikers from riding on the nation’s road network without protective head gear.
The New National Party (NNP) dominated Lower House last Friday passed the Road Traffic Amendment Bill which outlined the do’s and don’ts for persons riding bikes and the penalties in default.
Leader of Government Business, Gregory Bowen who is the Minister of Communication and Works, told Parliament that one of the things highlighted in the bill was the mandatory wearing of a helmet when riding a motorcycle.
According to Minister Bowen, Section 72 of the existing bill stipulates that there should be no more than two persons on a motorcycle on the road.
“…Some of us do know, some of us don’t and sometimes we joy ride with three and four. It (the amendment) says that you must not ride your motorbike or bicycle folded on to a moving vehicle”, he said.
Member of Parliament for St George North East, Tobias Clement questioned whether or not the bill will get anywhere without an age limit attached to it.
“…The law said that no more than two persons but who are the two persons? The father might be riding and he has his little son or daughter hanging on to the back of him … but is there any age limit? Can we really tell where we’re going with that?
“Our children should be our concern here in Grenada and …we should seek by all means to protect them when they are put in harm’s way and if they are riding on a motorbike, depending on their age we should arrest that issue…”.
Clement also spoke of the danger of children under 12 years sitting in front of a vehicle.
“If you’re talking about the same road safety, if you put a child in front of a car and all vehicles now have airbags and the airbags are deployed at a rate of 200 miles per hour and surely that will kill a child sitting in the front seat and a child under 12 years may not be able to withstand the impact…” he said.
Minister of Economic Development and Labour, Oliver Joseph spoke about his disagreement in not allowing people to take responsibilities for their life.
“It seems like we have to legislate people’s behaviour in society all the time. Where is the responsibility of the individual to protect himself in riding a motorbike? That’s a dangerous thing and we have to come to Parliament to hear (that you should) wear a helmet…people must accept responsibility because we would always have to come (with legislation).”, he said.
According to Minister of Health, Nickolas Steele, the bill is needed.
“I also think that it is appropriate that we should make sure certain laws are enforced…and I believe this one does apply to our youth who are riding scooters and who need the guidance of law in some cases to make sure that safety standards are adhered to, to make sure that we recognise that we are all mortal beings,” he said.