The transport ministry announced Thursday that safety helmets will be mandatory with effect on March 10 for motorcycle drivers on the capital’s Sinamalé bridge.
The decision was prompted by an increasing number of dangerous accidents on the bridge and highway linking the airport island to the capital’s suburb Hulhumalé, Transport Minister Aishath Nahula told the press.
The World Health Organisation lauded the decision and noted that head injuries are the main cause of death and disability among motorcycle users.
“Wearing a helmet has been shown to decrease the risk and severity of injuries among motorcyclists by about 70% and the likelihood of death by almost 40%,” according to the WHO.
The transport minister also announced plans to introduce taxi meters as a solution to public concerns about high fares for crossing the bridge.
The rates for meter taxis will be announced soon, Nahula said, promising that prices will not be too expensive or too cheap.
A public consultation forum was held on Tuesday night after drivers went on strike in protest against the transport ministry’s aborted decision to enforce a fixed rate of MVR40 (US$2.5) for a trip from Malé to the airport or Hulhumalé.
Taxis were allowed to continue charging MVR100 as the transport ministry stopped using undercover police and penalising drivers until rules made by the previous administration could be reviewed.
The move drew criticism as the public objected to the settled price and many commuters resumed using the ferry.
Taxi rides in Malé have a fixed price of MVR25.