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Remove motorcycles from the streets or tame them

Jun 20,2018 - Last updated at Jun 20,2018

Enough is enough. Motorbikes roaming the streets of our cities have become too much of a public nuisance for the extremely loud exhaust systems they use "as an alternative for horns to warn motorists".

This is the most ridiculous excuse one could ever hear. I am sure that all of us have undergone a near-heart attack experience when a bike drives past you while you are heading somewhere in your car or just be around minding your or seeking a relaxing moment outdoor at a café in Amman at night on a main street. In fact, horn honking must be banned for both cars and bikes as is the case in many world countries that care about their citizens, but let us be realistic and accept it as a fact of life.

A better explanation of the conduct is that horrifying peaceful people with these monstrous sounds is an expression of Freudian psychological problems.

Motorbikes with large engine sizes were abundant in the 1970s before they were banned later, when bike gangs became a phenomenon and deaths resulting from speeding sounded the alarm for the public and authorities then. Bikes with small-sized motors remained legal under strict rules, allowed only for companies that need these vehicles for their messengers.

Then in the 2000s, harmless scooters were allowed and that made some sense in a country that has a disgraceful public transportation system. 

But now, try a night picnic close to the airport area south Amman. Swarms of bikers madly come and go again and again in the part of the road, not covered by speed cams. You will know that only a miracle would prevent a death, but miracles do not happen. A few weeks ago, a tragic death of a young man on the Airport Road saddened all citizens, at a time when the Traffic Department gets itself busy ticketing a family man driving at 30km on a calm Friday morning, in his pyjamas, to buy hummus and falafel, for not using the seat belt.

It is simple if authorities care. The around 3,000 bikers on our streets should use a more environment-friendly warning system and drive within the speed limit. Otherwise, they should be penalised through a driving-offence points system that leads eventually to confiscating the vehicle and revoking the driving license for repeat violators. 

Jordanians may differ on many things, but will agree on this. Citizens have the right to be protected and are entitled to a clean environment from all kinds of pollution, including noise.

Even experts agree. The general manager of the Royal Motorcycle Club of Jordan, in previous remarks to The Jordan Times, has advised motorcyclists to use horns for warning purposes, instead of exhausts that make loud noises when pressing the fuel pedal.

Above that, we need to protect these young people who arrogantly ride their bikes on our streets, thinking that their behaviours go unchecked, from themselves.

 

The writer is the Deputy Chief Editor of The Jordan Times

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Comments

If you dear writer drive a motorcycle, then you would have a more balanced opinion of their riders. It is a fact that motorcycles reduce traffic congestion and free parking spaces. Riding a motorcycle reduces travel times and relieves stress. If 40% of auto drivers would change to bicycles and motorcycles, then 80% of Amman's traffic congestion would disappear. Please be kind to your fellow citizen who is riding a motorcycle and freeing more space for you to drive and park your car.

It is really fascinating to see how two residents of the same city can have diametrically opposite experience with the same group of people. Last summer during the period festivities held at the courtyard before the Roman Amphitheatre in downtown Amman I was sitting on the steps observing the incoming crowd and suddenly I noticed a parade of bikers riding directly towards the ramp leading to the lower part of the Amphitheatre, there were anywhere from forty to fifty bikers riding extremely shining Harley Davidson motorbikes. They were dressed as professional riders with full gear: helmets and goggles and pants, and jackets just like those worn in the movies. They swooped down in an orderly fashion spun around the courtyard several times then they put on a wonderful show using their bikes to manoeuvre left and tight, sideways and horse like a style of riding on the rear wheel only. The show wasn't very long five to ten minutes tops. After the completion of the show, they were helped by the attending traffic officers to exit the scene in an orderly fashion without disturbing the heavily crowded by the pedestrian courtyard areas. Their performance was flawless, I am clueless whether this was a planned event or the bikers just whimsically decided on their own to swoop into the downtown area. It has been over a year since this event occurred and I haven't seen a single biker ever since-- although I am in the downtown area almost on a daily basis. I beg to differ on removing all of the bikers, it sounds like a collective punishment to me, the character displayed by the bikers you witnessed may or may not be considered the scourage of our time. Please note that I'm all for banning the horn honking and the noise pollution but I am not for banning a sport considered optimal for some people leisure time. The traffic regulations need to be constantly reviewed and incessantly evolve into something that is orderly and fashionable, something that we are regrettably lacking at the present time.

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