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Times of Oman - 25.05.2015

Muscat: Riders using unregistered motorbikes in Oman will be fined and their vehicles will be confiscated, the Royal Oman Police (ROP) has warned.

In an advertisement uploaded on its official Twitter account, the ROP said riders using unregistered motorbikes in Oman will be fined and their vehicles will be confiscated. It has also urged parents not to gift small motorbikes to their children, which can lead to accidents.

"The Royal Oman Police are taking huge steps to reduce the number of deaths and injuries on our roads and making them safer for pedestrians as well as vehicle users. The proposed ban on mopeds and similar two wheeler vehicles is a smart initiative and hopefully the continuation of a process to remove unlicensed and non-roadworthy vehicles from our roads," Mark Pudwell, business development and training manager at Competence HR, said.

"This type of vehicle is often the cause of many traffic incidents and is a hazard to pedestrians. This is due to the fact that riders are largely very inexperienced and generally not licensed to use a motor vehicle -- a scenario that presents a number of related issues, not least of which is a lack of insurance," Mark added.

According to the ROP figures, in 2013, more than 300 bicycle and motorcycle-related accidents were registered. The figures also show that these accidents left 177 riders dead and 2,684 injured in 2,609 accidents from 2004 to 2013.

"The way in which this particular type of vehicle is used demonstrates a complete disregard of traffic regulations and as such should be removed immediately from the road and the rider educated in appropriate road safety," Mark said.

Readily available
"Young people are often given this kind of vehicle by their families as they are readily available and cheap to buy and run. What many parents forget is that these machines are still capable of speeds up to 50 km/h and afford their riders absolutely no protection when an incident occurs, often resulting in avoidable injury or death. The four wheel quad type bikes are equally dangerous and menacing and must also be removed from public roads with immediate effect," Mark added.

As per the available statistics, in 2013, motorcycle accidents caused 15 deaths and injuries to five people in the Muscat governorate alone. The Batinah region registered 81 motorcycle and bicycle accidents which left 12 people dead.

It may be recalled that the Ministry of Commerce and Industry had earlier announced its decision to ban the import of motorcycles with engine capacity under 70cc to avoid accidents and make the Sultanate's roads safe for drivers.

The ban came into effect on January 1, 2014.

"Often on the main roads, we see children driving mopeds recklessly and posing a threat to others. Policemen have to nab these riders. They have increased patrolling on the roads to catch these riders who not only risk their own life but also that of others," Faisal Mohammed, a taxi driver in Ruwi, said.

Buying a motorcycle in Oman is legally covered by Article 49/1 of the Traffic Law which states that riders without a valid motorcycle licence can be punished with imprisonment of up to three months and fines of up to OMR300.
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