GPF mulls laws to govern electric bikes – Divisional Traffic Officer


– says motorcyclists are most problematic category of road users

Divisional Traffic Officer of Division 4A – (Georgetown), Deputy Superintendent Timothy Williams, has said that, at some point in time, policies would be implemented to cater for those citizens who traverse the roadways with electric bikes.

He explained that, in 2020, 27 persons lost their lives in Division 4A; while, in 2021, 26 persons died as a result of vehicular accidents. Of the 26 deaths in 2021, he noted, none of them were motorcyclists.He made this disclosure during a Guyana Police Force social media programme, “Traffic and You”, wherein he highlighted that electric bicycles have become a major challenge and concern for the GPF.

“That is a source of concern, those electric bikes. Presently, they are operating unchecked simply because there is no documentation. These bikes are not registered by GRA, so they are operating unchecked.”

Williams has said that, sooner or later, some form of policy would be put in place to govern the use of these electric bicycles on Guyana’s roadways, especially in the capital city.

These comments were made in light of the recent accident in which 71-year-old Carlon Windsor Barrett of Victoria Avenue, Eccles, East Bank Demerara (EBD) was crushed by a truck while riding an electric bike along Water Street.

An electric motorcycle that was involved in an accident 

“I do not want a situation like that to continue, because we don’t want these electric bikes to get involved in accidents and, because the rider is not permitted or is not authorised by some document, we cannot prosecute it. So, it means, therefore, somewhere along the line, this will definitely have to happen, so that you will have to be licensed or something to ride one on the roadways…because a number of them, they are even towing on them, small children towing big people… The users don’t even wear helmets, and it seems as though the law doesn’t apply to them, but they cannot continue operating unchecked, we have to take action against them somewhere along the line.”

Meanwhile, the Traffic officer disclosed that the most problematic category of road users in his division are the motorcyclists.

“That in itself tells us that we have to work more on these motorcyclists,” he stated.

The Traffic Officer noted that, in 2021, a number of safety helmets were distributed to road users in his division, yet a number of them are seen riding without the correct type of helmets, while some are seen with none at all.

“I can recall (that) during last year we received a number of safety helmets from the Ministry of Home Affairs, and I was out there with my ranks to issue them, and we advised these motorcyclists to utilise and wear the helmets. But we’re still seeing a number of persons using their motorcycles or riding their cycles with their helmets not properly affixed. There’s no strap at the bottom, some are using industrial helmets, that is not the required helmet for the motorcycles on the road…we have persons towing young children, a father or mother carrying his or her child, and that child is not wearing a safety helmet. That is a concern for us,” the Traffic Officer stated.

A motorcyclist that was involved in an accident

Further, he added that the Guyana Police Force (GPF) does not encourage motorcycle ranks to give chase to those persons who are seen without helmets.

“The Force, we don’t encourage our ranks on motorcycles to be chasing after motorcyclists without safety helmets, but I am appealing to those young men out there who are in the habit of doing so to desist from such a practice. Because if you’re involved in an accident, it is highly likely you will sustain severe injuries, but we will not be chasing after you. Once we find or we identify your identification number or your ID mark, what we call your number plate, we have a channel that we can go through and get the information from GRA (Guyana Revenue Authority) to prosecute you.”

The Traffic Officer also warned people who are performing stunts on the roadways that they can be prosecuted, as it is considered a form of dangerous driving.

“That is a form of dangerous driving, because of course the law applies to motorcycle operators or drivers of any class of vehicles… So, if you are using the vehicle in a reckless manner, that is: wheelieing or speeding on the roads and swaying in and out of traffic, we can prosecute you for being reckless or dangerous.”

He noted that it is based on these actions that the Police are more vigilant on the road in terms of their presence. “We have increased the number of ranks on weekends around the city, especially in the evenings, to look out for these reckless drivers… Some will be travelling in large groups; sometimes they want to take over the road and all of that. We try to ensure that, once we discover them on the road, we try to break up the groups,” he explained.