In Togo, failure to wear helmets by passengers on two or three-wheel motorcycles is now being penalized. Following a two-week “intensified” awareness campaign on the roads, the National Police began making arrests on Monday, August 28, 2023.
Both in the capital city of Lomé and across the country, law enforcement agents have been deployed. “All violators will be stopped, and their motorcycles seized,” said the Director-General of the Police, Colonel Yaovi Okpaoul, who added that the motorcycles will remain at the scene until late afternoon before they can be reclaimed.
“Those who fail to retrieve their vehicles will find them impounded. As for passengers, they will wait for one to two hours, being sensitized in groups, before they are allowed to leave.”
The requirement for passengers to wear helmets had been announced by the government since January 2022, with the aim of significantly reducing the number of deaths and physical injuries caused in accidents involving the targeted vehicles. According to the government, over the past two weeks, nearly 25,000 individuals benefited from the awareness across the entire territory before the effective start of the enforcement phase.
Nonetheless, this initiative is giving rise to apprehension among a considerable number of individuals, particularly those residing in Lomé, the capital city, who count on public transportation for their daily journeys. Furthermore, as this mode of transport is the most extensively utilized across the western African nation, the expense associated with acquiring helmets presents a hurdle for regular citizens and female traders who heavily rely on this mode of transportation.