A 61-year-old man died of injuries sustained in an accident on Addu City’s link road last night – the fifth fatality in a motorcycle accident in the southernmost atoll this year.
Local media has identified the victim as Ibrahim Kalo, from the Penrith house in Hithadhoo. The security guard was driving to work when his motorcycle collided with a speeding motorcycle around 10:00pm.
Ibrahim was reportedly wearing a helmet, but it fell off after the collision. He sustained severe head injuries and was pronounced upon arrival at the regional hospital.
A 20-year-old man on the other motorcycle was also injured, a police media official told The Maldives Independent, but the injuries were not life-threatening.
According to local media, the young man’s right hand was broken and is due to be brought to Malé later today for further treatment. A young man on the passenger seat of the cycle meanwhile survived with minor injuries.
Two young men had died in dangerous accidents in Addu City on April 10 and March 30.
Addu City mayor Abdulla Sodiq told The Maldives Independent today that improving road safety was a high priority for the council.
Surveys had been conducted with the help of the transport authority and the police, he said, and the council had made efforts to implement recommendations based on the findings.
The council made an announcement to put up boards across the link road to warn of speeding and paint has been supplied by the State Trading Organisation, he said.
However, Sodiq said recent changes to the council’s responsibilities has removed road safety from its mandate.
In late June, President Abdulla Yameen ratified amendments to the decentralisation law that required the president to determine the powers and responsibilities of city councils in consultation with the cabinet.
The amendments stated that municipal services the president decides not to assign to the councils will be transferred to government ministries. Most of the responsibilities of the opposition-dominate Malé and Addu City councils were transferred to the housing ministry.
“The housing ministry said that just the drawings of the road are under their mandate. We do not know whose mandate improving road safety measures is now and sadly we have no power on this either,” Sodiq said.
Officials from the housing ministry were unavailable for comment at the time of publication.
Hussein Hilmy, an Addu City councillor, told The Maldives Independent in April that that work was underway to implement recommendations made by a team from the transport authority on improving road safety.
Hilmy said more police officers were needed to effectively control traffic.
However, the police said most accidents in Addu City were caused by speeding rather than traffic congestion.
“With the help of the Addu council secretariat we are trying to raise public awareness on the issue of going past the speed limit and the rule of the use of helmets by both the driver and the passenger on the specified area of the road,” a police media official said.
All motorcycle riders were required to wear helmets on the Addu City link road, which connects three interlinked islands.