“Okada Rider” vs. Motorcyclist


By Edward Boateng OPOKU 

Years ago, I was driving through Accra with a date when a fleeting encounter with a motorcyclist sparked an intriguing dialogue about the thin line between being an “okada rider” and a motorcyclist. “Why do you hate motorcyclists when you ride one yourself?” my date asked. The answer is simple yet profound: there’s a world of difference between the two.

Motorcyclists are enthusiasts who treasure their machines as both beauties and beasts. They recognize the allure and the inherent dangers of their motorcycles. Each ride is an opportunity to master this delicate balance, honing skills and embracing the art of motorcycling with every mile.

These riders wear their identities with pride and join forces with like-minded aficionados to share experiences and elevate their passion. They are meticulous about their appearance, donning full safety gear and ensuring their bikes gleam with pride and precision. Their rides bear unique marks, making personal statements while adhering strictly to traffic laws—a badge of honor they wear proudly.

Contrastingly, the “okada rider” views the motorcycle pragmatically, often as just a tool for navigating daily chaos. To them, traffic regulations are mere suggestions, and their riding style reflects a cavalier attitude towards road safety and public decorum. These riders often weave through traffic with a daredevil’s glee, turning city streets into personal amusement parks.

Their motorcycles tell tales of neglect, often dirty and worse for wear, sometimes even sputtering to a halt needing a push to the nearest fuel station when “the one gallon” disease hits, an event so frequent it seems a ritualistic defiance of common sense. Their tales at day’s end often boast of near misses and the chaos left in their wake, glorifying the very aspects of riding that responsible motorcyclists work hard to disprove.

The difference between a motorcyclist and an “okada rider” lies not just in how they treat their motorcycles but in their philosophy towards riding and life itself. It’s about respect, for themselves, for others on the road, and for the ride. As motorcyclists, we strive to present a positive image, elevate our craft, and enjoy our passion responsibly. The “okada rider,” meanwhile, often skirts the fringes of safety and decorum, much to the chagrin of those who aim to uplift the community’s image.

So, which one are you? Do you cherish the thrill of the ride while respecting the rules, or do you thrive in the adrenaline of unpredictability and rebellion? Whether you’re an “okada rider” or a proud motorcyclist, the choice reflects more than just your approach to riding—it’s a lifestyle.

This isn’t just about disliking “okada riders”; it’s about advocating for a culture of respect, skill, and communal pride among those who take to two wheels. It’s about defining what it truly means to be a motorcyclist in a world where every ride writes a story. What story do you want to tell?

Happy motoring…

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