Merida, 6th February 2014 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – An organisation representing Venezuelan motorcyclists has called for a road safety education plan in response to a controversial proposal to ban motorbikes after dark in Caracas.
The Venezuelan Confederation of Motorcyclists (CVM) has proposed a campaign to raise public awareness of road safety, and the creation of a motorbike training school. The organisation says it has the backing of over 100,000 riders. CVM also plans to hand out leaflets explaining road regulations at intersections.
Speaking to state broadcaster VTV, motorcyclist advocate Ricardo Vargas stated the CVM is willing to work with the government to reduce road fatalities and crime. “We have a national action plan for road safety education, where there is the will to move forward,” he said.
Vargas also said that negative stereotypes of motorbike riders is misleading. “We are aware that there are people who break the rules, but there are honest people who use this type of transport as a job,” he stated.
Motorbike taxis are a common form of transport in Venezuelan cities, despite a stigma of crime and disproportionate accidents associated with the bikes.
In the wake of the high profile shooting of former Ms Venezuela Monica Spear, President Nicolas Maduro’s government called for a night ban on motorbikes in the capital, Caracas. The ban was justified on grounds that motorbikes are the preferred mode of transport for hit-and-run thieves.
“Violators should be punished,” Vargas stated, though he argued that the “overriding theme is to educate” riders and the public.
Last month thousands of motorbike riders staged a protest in Caracas against the government’s proposed ban.
“We’re not criminals, we’re workers!” Protesters chanted during the rally, during which a petition against the curfew was handed to the National Institute of Land Transport (INTT).
According to Vargas, the CVM has already delivered its latest proposal to the INTT.
Similar night bans on motorbikes are being considered in a handful of other states, and are already in force in some parts of Venezuela.