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Commuters decry ‘one-way driving’ on Lagos-Ibadan highway

Motorists and users of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway have lamented the violation of traffic laws by drivers and motorcyclists driving against traffic on the highway.

The road users on Thursday that impatient motorcyclists and drivers were fond of using ‘one-way’ in order to beat traffic, endangering their lives and other commuters using the road.

When our correspondent visited the expressway, motorcyclists and some drivers were seen driving against traffic with their passengers at top speed, in disregard for the highway codes.

It was gathered that private car owners also drive against the traffic, especially late at night, thereby causing fear among pedestrians who are disturbed while walking on the sideways.

A pedestrian, who identified as Adebisi, said it is dangerous for motorists to use a one-way prohibited lane, blaming ignorant passengers for encouraging this act.

He said, “Accidents occur frequently on this road, so I cannot agree if any motorcyclist wants to use a one-way prohibited lane. It is very risky, but it seems the passengers are comfortable with it because they should caution these motorcyclists to use the right lane.

“There is a route under the bridge that motorcyclists can use to move to the other lane, but they are adamant. The Odua People’s Congress members in this area do not allow commercial motorcyclists at this junction to use one-way for the safety of pedestrians, but motorcyclists from far distances are not helping matters,” Adebisi said.

Another pedestrian, Adewale Michael, said the Federal Road Safety Corps should start apprehending motorcyclists and drivers who disobey this law because they intentionally put the lives of road users at risk.

“If you tell them the truth, they will not listen. The government should arrest these traffic offenders because most passengers might not be aware of this risk since it is advantageous to them. This act is not acceptable on a highway like this,” he said.

David Adande, a roadside mechanic on the expressway, who spoke to our correspondent, said that the practice of driving one-way is common among bikers as he condemned the act, saying it is extremely dangerous and happens far too often.

Adande noted that this reckless behaviour had resulted in numerous accidents and the tragic loss of lives which needs to be checked to prevent further tragedies.

He said, “Driving against the traffic is reckless and dangerous driving. Everyone needs to drive safely and obey traffic laws to avoid further tragedies.

“Most accidents on this expressway are a result of disobeying traffic rules and these incidents happen too often and yet, motorists are still flouting traffic rules. The act is common among bikers who are always in a rush to pick their next passenger.”

Meanwhile, motorists in the habit of driving against traffic on the highway expressed their frustration over the positioning of U-turns on the highway, stating that the U-turns are too distant from one point to another.

The motorists said the long distances between the U-turn points were responsible for driving against traffic on the expressway.

The road users, who lamented that the U-turns are “inconveniently far from their respective bus stops,” said the situation causes delays in their daily travels.

In separate interviews, the commuters said the U-turns are situated at such long intervals that travelling to the next available one is time-consuming.

Speaking with our correspondent, a motorist, Sainab Hammed, said she resorted to ‘one-way’ driving because of the distance between the nearest U-turn and her bus stop, “which spans approximately five kilometres.”

Hammed said, “I reside in Pakuro. The closest U-turn to my bus stop is around NASFAT end of the road. However, adhering to the traffic regulations would require me to drive an additional five kilometres to reach the designated U-turn, which is after the Redeemed Camp, significantly lengthening my journey.”

A commercial motorcyclist, Jeremiah Alome, revealed that he is often pressured by passengers to take one-way routes in order to avoid paying high fares.

“Anytime I pick a passenger, they insist I follow the one-way as it is the easiest access to their respective destinations and especially because of the price that comes with following the normal route,” Alome said.

A truck driver, simply identified as Musa, said, “Sometimes we try to follow other junctions so as not to go against traffic rules, but the roads are not properly linked to each other.”

A motorcyclist, who chose to speak on the condition of anonymity, said the government should erect a flyover or create a U-turn point nearby to ease their movement and prevent them from using one-way. He defended his colleagues, maintaining that obeying this particular traffic law is not convenient for commercial motorcyclists operating on the road.

He said, “The government should construct a bridge, or a U-turn point in the middle of the expressway, especially at each junction situated at the side of the highway. Imagine a motorcyclist dropping a passenger in front of Mountain of Fire Prayer City; you expect the person to ride his bike to the Asese area before he turns to the other lane. Such a person has no option but to use one-way.

“If there is a U-turn spot nearby and a motorcyclist decides to use one-way, then you can berate or punish them.”

When contacted, the spokesperson for the Federal Road Safety Corps in Ogun State, Florence Okpe, said U-turns are not meant for expressways, adding that motorists have no excuse whatsoever to ply one-way and whoever is caught flouting traffic rules will be severely punished.

She noted that plying one-way is an offence and there is a fine to pay if caught in the act.

“The road has been good, there is no obstruction or construction going on. For a very long time, there have been no issues with the road, so they have no excuse for fuel issues or whatever reason they are to use the one-way. We have mounted our patrol team at strategic points so that anyone who plies the one-way is seen as a dangerous driver. Whoever is caught will be booked; dangerous driving comes with a fine of N50,000.

“There was a particular U-turn that was always causing crashes; after our investigations were made, we decided, along with the Minister of Works, to close that turning.

“These motorcyclists are more exposed to danger than other motorists, so using restricted lanes is very dangerous. In fact, motorcyclists are not even supposed to be using an expressway. We arrest these offenders whenever we carry out special patrol, and this enforcement has not stopped,” Okpe said.

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