Lagos State is Considering a N25m Annual License for Bike Hailing Startups

Bike hailing startups are operating in a regulatory grey area in Lagos. The proposed license offers a way out, but at an unsustainable N25m annually fee.

While sources in the mobility sector say Tuesday’s ban does not affect them, Lagos state officials insist that a ban on ORide, Gokada and all types of motorcycles will continue.

On January 27, TechCabal reported the Lagos state government’s ban on Motorcycles and tricycles across 15 local government areas. 

Motorcycle bans are not new in Lagos with attempts at outlawing them in the state since 2012. 

The new ban, according to a statement by the Commissioner for information and strategy, Gbenga Omotoso is comprehensive. It will affect players in the mobility sector like ORide, Gokada and MAX.ng.

The commissioner says the ban is “in compliance with the extant transport sector reform laws 2018”. The transport sector reform law of 2018 can be traced to the state road traffic law (2012).


The Lagos state road traffic law 2012

The Lagos state road traffic law (2012) explains government’s position. The 2012 law lists highways and roads motorcycles are prohibited on.

But the Lagos State commissioner of transport, Dr. Frederick Olaseinde told TechCabal: “Let me make it clear, motorcycles and tricycles are not part of the Lagos masterplan. They came in because there is a gap, but they don’t have a place in a mega-city because of security and safety”

Some of the reasons for the ban are traffic congestion and a rate of fatal accidents the government says is worrying.

But the law provides a way out for motorcycles above 200cc

Lagos state road traffic law 2012
Lagos state road traffic law 2012

About the inconsistency in the transport sector law, Dr. Olaseinde insists there are no loopholes.

“I have looked at the loopholes you’re talking about with the Attorney General and it is not a loophole. Nowhere did we say that motorcycles should be used for public transportation”

TechCabal contacted the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice for Lagos state, Moyosore Onigbanjo, but at the time of this report, he has not responded to requests for comments. 

How is the mobility sector responding?

TechCabal reached out to MaxNg, Gokada  as well as ORide, but all companies will not be making official comments on the ban at this time. 

However, sources close to the situation at these companies spoke off the record. Their position is that the Lagos State Transport reform law (2018) is clear on regulations for Tricycles and motorcycles in Lagos.They are sure the ban will not affect them.

In their view, the extant laws in Lagos back their position.

While Section 46 of the reform law bans motorcycles, there are exceptions to these restrictions. 

Despite seeming contradictions, Lagos says the ban on ORide and all motorcycles will continue
Despite seeming contradictions, Lagos says the ban on ORide and all motorcycles will continue

Lagos Transport sector reform law (2018)
Lagos Transport sector reform law (2018)

The Lagos state law bans motorcycles from operating on 475 roads, but the restriction does not apply to motorcycles with 200cc engines. It also says that these motorcycles cannot carry more than one passenger and makes protective helmets compulsory. 

It also makes insurance compulsory for motorcycle owners. Yet, the government’s interpretation of the transport sector reform law is curious.

How the government is interpreting transport laws

The government’s position on its own transport law is confusing. It means that the Lagos State Environmental and Special Offences Unit (Taskforce) often impounds motorcycles in the state. 

In one instance in April 2019, 105 motorcycles were seized by the task force for using “restricted routes”. The task force has a history of these sporadic arrests.

In August 2019, there was a similar incident involving 125 motorcycles. The chairman of the task force told The Guardian: “We are going to ensure that there is total compliance with the Lagos Traffic Regulations by all commercial motorcycle operators across Lagos.”

This TechCabal report details how over 3,000 motorcycles belonging to ORide, MAX.ng and Gokada were impounded in December 2019. 

It begs the questions: if the transport sector reform laws are straightforward, why is the government interpreting it differently?


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