Introduction Commercial motorcyclists popularly known as Okada in Nigeria are motorcyclists who carry passengers for hire. It is one of the major and most common means of informal transport in Nigeria. Its popularity and widespread acceptance has rapidly risen in recent years. Unfortunately, the rise has been accompanied by increased levels of high-risk behaviour and accidents; as a result they have come under heavy scrutiny culminating in legislations restricting and in some instances prohibiting their operations in some cities.
Objectives To identify possible causes of motorcycle accidents among motorcyclists, and suggest some preventive measures.
Materials and methods Karu was chosen for convenience of study. Karu is a nearby town to the federal capital Abuja, Nigeria. A structured questionnaire and interview were administered to 50 Okada riders. Okada riders were selected randomly at differently locations in Karu. Responses were analysed.
Result Reckless driving accounted for 78% of the accidents while alcohol and drug intoxication 66% and 46%, respectively. Structural factors were faults in the motorcycles which were responsible for 44%. The poor state of the roads and absence of road traffic signs in 12% and 22% cases, respectively. Other attributing factor was unfavourable emotional state of the rider (22%).
Discussion and conclusion Reckless driving was identified as a major cause of road traffic accidents among Okada riders in Karu, Nigeria. Adequate education and improved road safety measures will likely help in reducing the number of road traffic accident.