Court name
High Court of Tanzania

Republic vs Idd Hamisi () [1983] TZHC 10 (25 April 1983);

Law report citations
1983 TLR 449 (TZHC)
Media neutral citation
[1983] TZHC 10

Maina, J.: Iddi Hamisi, the accused in this case, was convicted on his own plea of guilty on a charge of "riding a pedal bicycle with mechanical defects".  He was sentenced to fine Shs. 100/= which he paid. F
The accused was charged under section 39(1)(a) of the Road Traffic Act, No. 30 of 1973 which provides that no motor vehicle or trailer shall be driven on the public road unless all parts and its equipment including its chassis engine, gear system, brake system body work, tyres, lights are in good repair and in efficient working condition.  The G bicycle which the accused was riding "had no hand brake".  The issue here is whether by riding a bicycle which had no handbrake the accused had committed an offence under section 39(1)(a) of the Road Traffic Act. As I have tried to show above, that section clearly provides that it shall be an offence when a person drives a motor vehicle or trailer H with mechanical defects.  A motor vehicle is defined by section 2 of the Act to mean any self-propelled vehicle intended or adapted for use on the roads and includes an engineering plant. Surely a bicycle is not a self-propelled vehicle.  Section 2 of the Act defines a bicycle as any vehicle which has at least two wheels which is propelled by I means of pedals or hand cranks solely by the muscular energy of the person riding it.  Clearly

therefore a bicycle is not a motor vehicle.  It is also not a trailer because by its definition A in the Act a trailer is "any vehicle designed to be drawn or propelled by a motor vehicle".  From the foregoing it will be clear that a bicycle is neither a motor vehicle nor a trailer.  Therefore section 39(1)(a) of the Road Traffic Act which provides that no motor vehicle or trailer shall be driven on a public road with defects does not apply to bicycles. B
The remaining question now is whether by riding a pedal bicycle without brakes the accused has committed any offence known to law.  I have read the Road Traffic Act very carefully but I have not seen any provision in the Act about riding a bicycle with defects.  However, the Traffic Rules made under the Traffic Ordinance provide in rule C 32 that "Every bicycle or tricycle shall be fitted with at least one effective brake".  The Traffic Ordinance, Cap. 168, was repealed by section 117(1) of the Road Traffic Act, but section 117(2)(a) of the Act provides that notwithstanding the provisions of Sub-Section (1), all subsidiary legislation made under the Traffic Ordinance and in force immediately before the commencement of the Road Traffic Act, shall continue to be in D force until revoked.  The rules made under the Traffic Ordinance and which have not been revoked are therefore in force. Rule 32 of the Traffic Rules which were made under the Traffic Ordinance has not been revoked.  The accused should have been charged under that rule and not under Section 39(1)(a) of the road Traffic Act. E
The accused's conviction is altered to riding a bicycle without brakes contrary to rule 32 of the Traffic Rules. The sentence remains as it appears to be reasonable.
F Order accordingly.
 
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