Motorcyclist crashes into tree, dies after dropping off student

BY ANTHONY LEWIS
Observer writer
editorial@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, October 10, 2019

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LITTLE LONDON, Westmoreland — A motorcyclist who allegedly operates a bike taxi in Westmoreland died in a horrendous crash shortly after transporting a student to Little London High School yesterday.

He has been identified as Okeno Smith, 27, of a Hope district address in the parish.

According to reports from the police, the taxi operator dropped off a student at the high school at approximately 8:19 am. About a minute after leaving the location, the crash occurred.

It's understood that Smith failed to negotiate a left turn in the vicinity of a popular bar, which resulted in the motorcycle slamming into a tree.

The incident comes days before a planned barring of Little London High students from travelling on bike taxis. The ban, which is to take effect next Monday, was decided on by the school's board of directors and supported by parents last week Thursday. The board reached the decision, following a series of crashes involving bike taxi operators who transport students to schools in the area.

In the last school term, a student who was reportedly awaiting public transportation in front of a supermarket in Little London, was mowed down by a motorcycle as the driver allegedly performed stunts on the main road.

Over the weekend, National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang told the Jamaica Observer that the motorcycle situation in the parish was a law enforcement matter.

“You don't need to put a ban [in place], it is illegal. So we just have to apply the law, and that is something we have to get the police Public Safety and Traffic Enforcement Branch active on,” the security minister said.

“Bike taxis are a primary means of transport in Little London and the west end. They are carrying three, four students on a bike. It is dangerous and unsafe, but none of it is legal so it is just for the police to apply the law. So, I would not interfere with that,” Dr Chang added.


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