Motorcycle Friendly Barriers should become widespread
Today, I want to explain how directly municipal governance affects our lives.
The Mayor of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, Ekrem İmamoğlu, wrote on his social media account, "The Motorcycle Friendly Barrier initiative has been effective. One barrier means thousands of lives," and shared visuals of the barriers installed along with comments from motorcyclists.
This issue is very important for those who use motorcycles... I know some of you get annoyed by motorcyclists in traffic, thinking they endanger traffic due to their non-compliance and sudden movements. However, some do this with their vehicles as well. Here, the matter is simply about adhering to the rules and not exceeding speed limits. What I want to emphasize is the importance of human life.
Especially during the pandemic period, motorcycles have become a preferred mode of transport for citizens due to the increase in courier services, the infuriating traffic-time situations, fuel prices driving us to become walking tax offices, the parking space crisis, and the peak in vehicle prices in cities like Istanbul. It's as if, similar to Pakistan, there are now millions of motorcycles in traffic. Of course, some enjoy riding motorcycles in nature and on their travels.
According to data from the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK), the number of motorcycles registered in traffic in Turkey was 1 million in 2002, 3 million in 2016, 3.2 million in 2018, 3.3 million in 2019, 3.5 million in 2020, 3.74 million in 2021, 4.14 million in 2022, and reached 5.1 million in 2023. Excluding the data for 2024, there are 5.1 million motorcycle users in our country. The total number of vehicles registered in traffic in Turkey is 28 million, with motorcycles accounting for 17.7% of these vehicles. Now, one in every five motor vehicles in traffic is a motorcycle. However, the traffic laws in our country do not define motorcycles. There are no specific roads or parking areas for motorcycles. Citizens who travel abroad have surely seen separate roads and parking areas made for motorcycles. Motorcycles are considered an element of traffic and laws have been prepared accordingly. Some countries even have motorcycle taxi services.
The lack of motorcycle training in our country and the unawareness of motorcycle users are not the only issues. Due to deficiencies in the law, motorcycle users enter traffic with insufficient training.
VALUE-ADDED TAX (VAT) REGULATION
You all see on social media applications or in the news. We watch the mistakes of motorcycle users and the accidents that occur in Zafer Akçay's YouTube videos. Some motorcycle users also create their pages and make broadcasts to raise awareness.
Of course, the measure that will prevent fatalities in accidents is to comply with the rules. As important as following the rules is the use of protective motorcycle equipment. The body of a motorcycle user is their bodywork. However, these equipment are so expensive that many people use very cheap equipment that offers no protection in an accident but saves them from traffic fines. The price of a truly protective helmet has almost reached the level of the minimum wage.
When including jackets, gloves, pants, shoes, and other equipment, the total price equals 2-3 months of minimum wage. I'm not even talking about branded products. A VAT regulation on motorcycle equipment, along with updating the rules to include motorcycle users, will minimize possible accidents, fatalities, and severe injuries.
That's why Ekrem İmamoğlu's post that I mentioned earlier is important. According to motorcyclists, barriers installed along the roadsides prevent a large portion of accidents. They allow potentially fatal accidents to be survived with minor injuries.
İmamoğlu's "Motorcycle Friendly Barrier" initiative is a long-desired request by motorcyclists. This should cover not only all of Istanbul but also all of Turkey. Previously, the Mayor of Üsküdar, Hilmi Türkmen, had mentioned in a conversation that they would not be insensitive to motorcyclists and would prepare projects in the district. Please be mindful of motorcycles in traffic. A municipality that pays attention to traffic, whether it involves motorcycles or cars, signifies a modern society.
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