Transport is an important element in economic development and it affords the social and political interaction that most people take for granted (Button and Hensher, 2001). The provision of transport infrastructure has grown extensively across the globe through a range of networks of modes which have undergone technological improvements cutting across the motive power, the tracks as well as the means which serve as compartment for passengers and goods. It is also a key player in the transfer and distribution of goods from the input points through the manufacturing line to the customers (Badejo, 2002). Perhaps, this led to the assertion by Mumby (1968), that there is no escape from transport since it is a keystone of civilization. Transportation is a process that involves the movement of commuters, goods and services from a given point of origin to a specific destination (Okoko, E. E. (2006), it determines the regional patterns of development, economic viability, environmental impacts and maintenance of socially acceptable levels of quality of life. It is a means to access business activities, education, employment and recreational opportunities, thus contributing to policy effectiveness and enhancement of security through reduced isolation as well as providing job opportunities (World Bank, 2002).
Motorcycle, which is a motorized vehicle, emergence as a means of urban mobility, has become a common feature in Asia Countries (e.g. Vietnam, Taiwan, China, etc.) and African Countries Akhigbe, O. (2010) (Zhang, J.H., Norton, R., Tang, K.C., Lo, S.K., Zhuo, J.T. and Geng, W.K., 2004) ((NHTSA), 2007), unlike in the developed countries, where motorcycling is undertaken as a form of recreation and leisure, for example, in the United States of America, motorcycles comprise 2% of registered motor vehicles ((NHTSA), 2007). The annual production of motorcycles in the world is put at about 45 million with the growth rate in Africa, being between about 12% – 30% (Oginni, F.O., Ugboko, V.I., Ogundipe, O. and Adegbehingbe, O., 2006). For instance, in Nigeria, the government’s inability to provide conventional mode of transport has necessitated the use of motorcycles (two-wheeled automobiles) and tricycles (three-wheeled automobiles) to move people, goods and services from one point to another under conditions considered to be unsafe and accident prone (Oni, S., Fashina, O. and Olagunju, Y.K., 2011). The description of the motorcycle as the most dangerous of all motorized vehicles for transportation can be attributed to its nature and design, e.g. absence of airbags to reduce impact in the event of a collision which propel riders and passengers alike to be vulnerable victims of road traffic crashes((NHTSA), 2007). Factors responsible for this can be classified as human and environmental factor. Environmental factors include the condition and nature of the roads, traffic flow, poor visibility at night, while human factors include amongst other things: the attitude and behaviour of cyclists on the roads, ignoring safety measures like speed limit, traffic sign, not wearing of crash helmets and protective clothing, alcohol and substance abuse prior to riding, carrying more
than the stipulated number of pillion passengers Akhigbe, O. (2010) (Alvi, A., Doherty, T. and Lewen, G.).
In Nigeria, an okada (also: achaba, going, inaga) is a motorcycle taxi. The name was borrowed from Okada Air, a Nigerian local airline, now defunct. Motorcycle taxis or Okadas are also commonly used in some other West African countries, including Togo (Oléyia), Benin (Zémidjans), Burkina Faso, Liberia (Phen-Phen) and Sierra Leone. In its time, Okada Air was the most popular Nigerian local airline, but was not known for its comfort.The airline was named after Okada town near Benin City, the hometown of its owner, Chief Gabriel Igbinedion. The motorcycle transports were nicknamed after the airline, because they could manoeuvre through the heavy traffic of Lagos, and take passengers to their destinations in a timely manner, in the same way as the airline. The ironic humour of an airline’s name being used for commercial motorcyclists, as well as the local familiarity with Okada Air, caused the nickname of okada to outlive the airline from which it originated, which many Nigerians no longer remember.( From Wikipedia, 2019) ( wikipedia Defination of okada , n.d.)
Commercial motorcycle transport in Nigeria is an informal sector activity. It is a self-employment activity. Okada is the term for describing the use of motorcycles for passenger transport in Nigeria. It is a means of transport under the road mode. Road transport is the dominant mode of transportation in terms of both goods and passenger traffic within the country. The accessibility benefits and the production-consumption bridging role of road transport are usually accomplished with the use of trailers, trucks, buses, cars and motorcycles collectively called road vehicles.
Motorcycles are relatively cheap to own and it provide convenient and relatively inexpensive alternative to automobiles. It is less regulated (in terms of licensing, Oyesiku and Odufuwa (2002), affirm that the rise in the use of okada for public transportation in Nigeria pointing out that the decrease in the supply of new vehicles of all types since the 1970s contributed to the emergence of motorcycles “Okada” for commercial transportation. The commuter without a vehicle, who is the primary customer of public transport, may find it more convenient to use a motorcycle as soon he is able to afford it, particularly when the public transport is not competitive (Aderamo and Olatujoye, 2013). The use of motorcycle as a mode of transportation increases tremendously due to the increasing level of poverty of urban residents (Olubomehin, 2012). In Lagos, for example, it was often difficult to get conventional means of transportation to move people into and out of many areas (Ikeano, 1991). The inadequacy of the transport system was handled with the emergence of motorcycles for commercial purpose in the streets of Lagos. Olubomehin (2012) examined the development and impact of motorcycles as means of commercial transportation in Nigeria. He identified rapid rate of urbanization in the face of inadequate means of transportation, high rate of unemployment prevalent in the country in the 1980s as a fall-out of the downturn in the Nigerian economy at this period and the relative lucrative nature of commercial motorcycle business as factors responsible for the growth of motorcycle business in Nigeria.
1.2 Statement of Problem
Critics of the Okada business maintain that the expansion in the business has increased the number of road accidents in the country. This has led to the loss of lives and in many cases permanent disabilities to victims. For example, in 1989 about 144 cases of Okada accident were reported in Lagos State (Ndiribe, 2009). In 1999, 699 cases of Okada accidents were reported, representing 21.06 percent of the total accidents in Lagos State for that year (Olagunju, 2001: 26). This, no doubt, is also the picture in other states across the country. Over the years, accidents involving Okada riders have kept on increasing in direct proportion to the increase in the number of motorcycles operating for commercial purposes. Recklessness and refusal to comply with traffic rules have been largely responsible for these accidents.
Okada riders are also reported to constitute nuisance on the highways since many of the riders do not obey traffic rules. Aside from this, their members are also reported to be extremely violent, resorting to jungle justice to get easy passage of their erring members whenever the situation warrants (Nnadozie, 2009: 26).
Observers have suggested ways of addressing some of the problems and challenges associated with the use of motorcycle for commercial transportation in Nigeria. Some have suggested stiff measure such as an outright ban of Okada as a means of public transportation. Thus, the Cross-River State government banned its use on November 22, 2009. The Lagos State government also limited its use in some areas of the city to certain hours of the day. But less stiff measures have also been suggested and these include the restriction of Okada operations to roads on which the traffic is not so heavy and strict enforcement of traffic regulation on the riders. The thinking is that in doing so, accidents would be reduced on the roads. There is also the view that those who use motorcycles for commercial purposes should be trained on the rules and regulations governing its use. In this regard, the Nigerian Highway Code needs to be updated to cover the operations of the Okada riders. The government must also ensure that only riders who pass riding test are allowed to operate on the road. At the moment, there are many motorcycle riders who use the road without valid license. Also, government must strictly enforce the laws regulating public transportation in the country. We need to mention in particular, the regulation on the use of crash elements by motorcycles riders. While serious efforts are being made to enforce this regulation in Lagos, the situation is not exactly so in other states of the Federation; this has to change. Enforcement of traffic rules and regulation must be taken seriously across all the states of the country by the relevant government agencies.
The rapid rate of urbanization in Nigeria has become an issue of serious concern to policy makers in the various sectors including transport. The growth pattern and variety of land uses in the state have also complicated transport demand situation in the state. Public transportation services within the metropolis have also been insufficient. Thus, inadequate and inefficient transport situation are issues of major concern in Ogun state.